Media Accountability in the Era of Post-Truth Politics: European Challenges and Perspectives 2019007115, 2019018338, 9781351115780, 9780815361664, 9780815361671

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Media Accountability in the Era of Post-Truth Politics: European Challenges and Perspectives
 2019007115, 2019018338, 9781351115780, 9780815361664, 9780815361671

Table of contents :
Half Title
Series Page
Title Page
Copyright Page
Part I Concepts and classifications of media accountability
Chapter 1 Theory and practice of media accountability in Europe: An introductory overview
Definitions and conceptual foundations
Mapping media accountability in Europe
Media accountability: a research synopsis
Media accountability in the era of post-truth politics: the book
Background and acknowledgement
Chapter 2 European models of journalism regulation: A comparative classification
European types of a regulation in which journalists participate
Confronting models of regulation
Categorisation of models: a proposal based on two axes
Chapter 3 The circular impact model: Conceptualising media accountability
Following up from communication studies
An alternative assessment of media accountability
Applying the circular impact model: the advantage of comparison
Part II Political and societal challenges
Chapter 4 Media accountability in the era of fake news: Journalistic boundary work and its problems in Finland
Fake news and journalistic boundary work
Boundary work with audiences
Broader view on fake news
Mistaken by algorithms
Chapter 5 Media accountability instruments concerning immigration and the polarisation of trust in journalism in Sweden
Trust, accountability and the media
Concluding remarks
Chapter 6 Press repeat: Media self-regulation in the United Kingdom after Leveson
The historical context – seven decades of selective reform
The Leveson Inquiry – origins and recommendations
The aftermath of Leveson – Royal Charters, industry lobbying, and the emergence of a parallel regulatory system
The (partial) implementation of Leveson, 2013–2017
The post-Leveson landscape, five years on: problems deferred
Chapter 7 Media accountability meets media polarisation: A case study from Poland
Poland’s difficult road to media accountability
Approaching media polarisation
Poland: polarisation of society, polarisation of politics
Media polarisation in Poland
Part III Economic and organisational challenges
Chapter 8 Selling short media accountability?: The importance of addressing market-driven claims of media freedom
Media content that challenges media accountability
How may legislation further support media accountability?
Chapter 9 Public value and shared value through the delivery of accountability
Contextualising media accountability
Public value and shared value
Instruments of media accountability: the UK
Instruments of media accountability: Finland
Discussion and conclusions
Chapter 10 Strengthening media accountability through regulated self-regulation: The Swiss model
Regulation and self-regulation: one or both?
The potential of quality management systems to strengthen media accountability
Chapter 11 Accountability and corporate social responsibility in the media industry: A topic of relevance?
The relevance of media accountability and corporate social responsibility
Corporate social responsibility communication
Corporate social responsibility in the media industry (media social responsibility)
Tailoring corporate social responsibility activities in the media industry
Discussion and conclusions
Part IV Technological challenges
Chapter 12 Involvement of private and civil society actors in media regulation processes: A comparison of all European Union member states
Problem formulation
Research question and method
Regulatory culture
Chapter 13 Emerging structures of control for algorithms on the Internet: Distributed agency – distributed accountability
Algorithms on the Internet: application, relevance, risks
Algorithms and accountability: theoretical perspectives and practical challenges
Accountability from a governance perspective
Summary and conclusions
Chapter 14 Ensuring accountability and transparency in networked journalism: A critical analysis of collaborations between whistleblowing platforms and investigative journalism
Networked journalism and the role of whistleblowing platforms
Digital media accountability and responsiveness
Discussion and conclusions
Part V Perspectives: rethinking the role of the audience
Chapter 15 Complaints handling mechanisms and online accountability in Western European public service media
Involvement of audiences and accessibility
Case studies
Chapter 16 A wheelbarrow full of frogs: How media organisations in the Netherlands are dealing with online public complaints
Media criticism in the Netherlands
The online active public
Online accountability initiatives
Being accountable starts with being accessible
Personal response
The online door has opened
Chapter 17 The battle over the living room: Constructing an accountable popular culture
Debating entertainment content: different actors, diverse perspectives
From news to entertainment: from media accountability to an accountable popular culture
Two tracks for constructing an accountable popular culture: liability vs. answerability
Why did the cultural text trigger resentment?
Media organisations’ response: three tracks for creating an accountable popular culture
Concluding remarks: vox populi, vox dei
Chapter 18 Examining media accountability in online media and the role of active audiences: The case of Spain
Audiences’ role in online accountability systems
Media accountability in Spain
Chapter 19 Media criticism in an African journalistic culture: An inventory of media accountability practices in Kenya
Media accountability and journalistic culture
A closer look at Kenya

Citation preview


Bringing together both leading international scholars and emerging academic talent, Media Accountability in the Era of Post-Truth Politics maps the current state of media accountability in Europe and provides fresh perspectives for future developments in media and communication fields. As the integrity of the international media landscape is challenged by far-reaching transformations and the rise of “fake news,” the need for a functional system of media regulation is greater than ever. This book addresses the pressing need to re-evaluate and redefine the notion of accountability in the fast-changing field of journalism and “information provision.” Using comparative research and empirical data, the book’s case studies address the notion of media accountability from various perspectives, considering political and societal change, economic, organisational and technological factors, and the changing role of media audiences. By collecting and juxtaposing these studies, the book provides a new discussion for the old question of how we can safeguard free and responsible media in Europe – a question that seems more urgent than ever. Media Accountability in the Era of Post-Truth Politics is an essential read for students and researchers in journalism, media and communication studies. Tobias Eberwein, Senior Scientist and Research Group Leader at the Institute for Comparative Media and Communication Studies of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, and the Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt. Susanne Fengler, Professor for International Journalism at the Institute of Journalism, and Director of the Erich Brost Institute for International Journalism,TU Dortmund University. Matthias Karmasin, Professor at the Department of Media and Communications, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, and Director of the Institute for Comparative Media and Communication Studies at the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt.


University of Ljubljana, Slovenia Christina Holtz-Bacha Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany Galina Miazhevich Cardiff University, UK Series Advisory Board: Nico Carpentier, François Heinderyckx, Robert Picard and Jan Servaes https ​://ww ​w.rou​t ledg ​ ​/ Rout ​ledge ​- Stud​ies-i​n -Eur​opean​- Comm​u nica​ tion-​Resea​rch-a​nd-Ed​ucati​on/bo​ok-se​r ies/​ECREA​

Published in association with the European Communication Research and Education Association – ECREA (, books in the series make a major contribution to the theory, research, practice and/or policy literature. They are European in scope and represent a diversity of perspectives. Book proposals are refereed. For a full list of titles in this series, please visit 12. Public Policies in Media and Information Literacy in Europe Cross Country Comparisons Edited by Divina Frau-Meigs, Irma Velez and Julieta Flores-Michel 13. (Mis)Understanding Political Participation Digital Practices, New Forms of Participation and the Renewal of Democracy Edited by Jeffrey Wimmer, Cornelia Wallner, Rainer Winter, and Karoline Oelsner 14. Radio Audiences and Participation in the Age of Network Society Edited by Tiziano Bonini and Belén Monclús 15. Media Accountability in the Era of Post-Truth Politics European Challenges and Perspectives Tobias Eberwein, Susanne Fengler and Matthias Karmasin


Edited by Tobias Eberwein, Susanne Fengler and Matthias Karmasin

First published 2019 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an Informa business © 2019 selection and editorial matter, Tobias Eberwein, Susanne Fengler and Matthias Karmasin; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Tobias Eberwein, Susanne Fengler and Matthias Karmasin to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Eberwein, Tobias, editor. | Fengler, Susanne, editor. | Karmasin, Matthias, editor. Title: Media accountability in the era of post-truth politics : European challenges and perspectives/edited by Tobias Eberwein, Susanne Fengler and Matthias Karmasin. Description: London; New York: Routledge, 2019. | Series: Routledge studies in European communication research and education; 14 | Includes bibliographical references and index. | Identifiers: LCCN 2019007115 (print) | LCCN 2019018338 (ebook) | ISBN 9781351115780 (ebook) | ISBN 9780815361664 (hardback: alk. paper) | ISBN 9780815361671 (pbk.: alk. paper) Subjects: LCSH: Mass media–Moral and ethical aspects–Europe. | Journalistic ethics–Europe. | Mass media–Political aspects–Europe. | Mass media and public opinion–Europe. Classification: LCC P94 (ebook) | LCC P94 .M3543 2019 (print) | DDC 302.23/094–dc23 LC record available at ISBN: 978-0-8153-6166-4 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-8153-6167-1 (pbk) ISBN: 978-1-351-11578-0 (ebk) Typeset in Bembo by Deanta Global Publishing Services, Chennai, India.


Figures viii Tables ix Contributors x PART I

Concepts and classifications of media accountability 1 1 Theory and practice of media accountability in Europe: An introductory overview  Tobias Eberwein, Susanne Fengler and Matthias Karmasin


2  European models of journalism regulation: A comparative classification 18 João Miranda and Carlos Camponez 3  The circular impact model: Conceptualising media accountability 36 Caroline Lindekamp PART II

Political and societal challenges 4  Media accountability in the era of fake news: Journalistic boundary work and its problems in Finland Heikki Heikkilä and Jari Väliverronen

53 55

vi Contents

5  Media accountability instruments concerning immigration and the polarisation of trust in journalism in Sweden Torbjörn von Krogh and G öran Svensson


6  Press repeat: Media self-regulation in the United Kingdom after Leveson Gordon Ramsay and Martin Moore


7  Media accountability meets media polarisation: A case study from Poland Michał G łowacki and Michał Kuś



Economic and organisational challenges 8  Selling short media accountability? The importance of addressing market-driven claims of media freedom Andrew T. Kenyon, Eva-Maria Svensson and Maria Edström

117 119

9  Public value and shared value through the delivery of accountability 135 Kaisa Sorsa 10  Strengthening media accountability through regulated self-regulation: The Swiss model Mirco Saner and Vinzenz Wyss


11  Accountability and corporate social responsibility in the media industry: A topic of relevance? 162 Isabell Koinig, Sandra Diehl, Franzisca Weder and Matthias Karmasin PART IV

Technological challenges 12  Involvement of private and civil society actors in media regulation processes: A comparison of all European Union member states Dirk Arnold 13  Emerging structures of control for algorithms on the Internet: Distributed agency – distributed accountability Florian Saurwein





14  Ensuring accountability and transparency in networked journalism: A critical analysis of collaborations between whistleblowing platforms and investigative journalism Colin Porlezza and Philip Di Salvo




Perspectives: Rethinking the role of the audience 227 15  Complaints handling mechanisms and online accountability in Western European public service media Dolors Palau-Sampio


16  A wheelbarrow full of frogs: How media organisations in the Netherlands are dealing with online public complaints Yael de Haan


17  The battle over the living room: Constructing an accountable popular culture Efrat Daskal


18  Examining media accountability in online media and the role of active audiences: The case of Spain Jose A. García-Avilés


19  Media criticism in an African journalistic culture: An inventory of media accountability practices in Kenya David Cheruiyot


Index 299


  2.1 Distribution of regulatory bodies according to the two

axes of analysis 30   3.1 Media accountability (MA) as the dependent variable 40   3.2 Media accountability instruments as the independent variable 44   3.3 Combining models about the impact on, and of, media accountability (MA) 45   3.4 Comparing media accountability (MA) cultures in the circular impact model 47   7.1 Levels of media polarisation 105   8.1 Components of media freedom 121   9.1 Key performance measurement concepts in media organisations 138  11.1 Conceptualisation of media accountability and corporate social responsibility 164 11.2 Forms of CSR activities in the media industry 169 11.3 Frequency of CSR in the media industry 172 11.4 Media-specific CSR issues 173 13.1 Accountability concepts in accountability networks for algorithmic selection 201  14.1 Digital media accountability model 217


  2.1 Fundamental elements of origin and framework of the analysed regulatory bodies   2.2 Fundamental elements of composition of the analysed regulatory bodies   2.3 Fundamental elements of procedure and sanctioning limits of the analysed regulatory bodies 10.1 Existence of editorial basic documents underlying the in-house EQMS 10.2 Existence of editorial quality assurance processes 16.1 Media organisations that participated in the Dutch study 18.1 Implementation of accountability instruments used by Spanish media with online presence

26 27 29 155 157 247 275


Dirk Arnold, research associate at the Institute of Communication and Media

Studies of the University of Leipzig. Research interests: comparative research of media systems and media structures, communication theory. E-mail: dirk.arnold@ Carlos Camponez, professor of Media Ethics and Media Socioeconomics at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and Coordinator of the Research Group in Communication, Journalism and Public Space at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies of the 20th Century, University of Coimbra. Research interests: journalism ethics, journalism regulation. E-mail: [email protected] David Cheruiyot, PhD candidate at Karlstad University. Research Interests: media criticism, journalism practice, media accountability, media representation, African media studies. E-mail: [email protected] Efrat Daskal, postdoctoral fellow in Israel Studies at Northwestern and post-doctoral fellow at HUJI Cyber Security Research Center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Research interests: media policy, Internet governance and digital policy, media ethics. E-mail: [email protected] Yael de Haan, professor for Journalism in Digital Transition at the University of Applied Sciences in Utrecht. Research interests: media accountability, media ethics, new forms of storytelling, news visualisations, immersive journalism. E-mail: yael. [email protected] Sandra Diehl, associate professor and vice head of the Department of Media and Communications at Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt. Research interests: CSR



and health communication, media and convergence management, intercultural advertising. E-mail: [email protected] Philip Di Salvo, PhD student at the Institute of Media and Journalism IMeG, Università della Svizzera italiana (Lugano, Switzerland). Research interests: whistleblowing, the relationship between hacking and journalism, surveillance. E-mail: [email protected] Tobias Eberwein, senior scientist and research group leader at the Institute for

Comparative Media and Communication Studies of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, and the Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt. Research interests: media ethics and media accountability, media structures and media governance, journalism, media innovations, methods of empirical social science, comparative communication and media research. E-mail: [email protected] Maria Edström, associate professor at the Department of Journalism, Media and Communication, University of Gothenburg. Research interests: freedom of expression, journalism, gender and ageing. E-mail: [email protected] Susanne Fengler, professor for international journalism at the Institute of

Journalism and director of the Erich Brost Institute for International Journalism, TU Dortmund University. Research interests: international journalism, media selfregulation, economic theory of journalism. E-mail: [email protected] Jose A. García-Avilés, full professor of journalism at the Miguel Hernández

University (Spain), where he lectures in the Masters Programme in Journalism Innovation. Research interests: media ethics, digital journalism, innovation, quality news. E-mail: [email protected] Michał Głowacki, associate professor at the Faculty of Journalism, Information and

Book Studies of the University of Warsaw, Poland. Research interests: media policy, public service media, media governance and accountability, organisational culture, creativity and innovation. E-mail: [email protected] Heikki Heikkilä, senior researcher at the Research Centre for Journalism, Media and Communication (COMET), Tampere University, Finland. Research interests: digital journalism and online communications, audience research. E-mail: [email protected] Matthias Karmasin, professor at the Department of Media and Communications,

Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, and director of the Institute for Comparative Media and Communication Studies at the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt. Research interests: communication and journalism studies, media economy, media ethics. E-mail: [email protected]

xii Contributors

Andrew Kenyon, professor of law at the Centre for Media and Communications Law, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne. Research interests: free speech, media freedom, pluralism, privacy, defamation. E-mail: a.kenyon@unimelb. Isabell Koinig, postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Media and Communications at Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt. Research interests: health communication, media and convergence management, advertising and CSR. E-mail: [email protected] Michał Kuś, assistant professor at the Institute of Political Science (Department of Communication and Journalism), University of Wrocław, Poland. Research interests: media systems, especially aspects of media control, ownership and regulation, relations between media and politics. E-mail: [email protected] Caroline Lindekamp, journalist as well as PhD fellow at the School for Inter­

national and Intercultural Communication (SIIC) of the University Alliance Ruhr, Germany. Research interests: francophone media, journalism ethics, media in transition, self-regulation and Arab media. E-mail: [email protected] João Miranda, PhD student and lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities,

University of Coimbra. Research interests: journalism and professional ethics, media accountability, media economics. E-mail: [email protected] Martin Moore, director of the Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power, and senior lecturer in political communication education, King’s College London. Research interests: transformation of political communication, future and sustainability of news, communication power. E-mail: [email protected] Dolors Palau-Sampio, lecturer of journalism at the University of Valencia. Research interests: journalistic genres and styles, quality journalism, narrative journalism. E-mail: [email protected] Colin Porlezza, senior researcher at the Department of Communication and Media Research IKMZ, University of Zurich. Research interests: data journalism, media accountability and transparency, journalism innovation. E-mail: c.porlezza@ikmz. Gordon Ramsay, visiting researcher at the University of Westminster. Research

interests: media regulation, disinformation in digital journalism, political communication and elections, local news sustainability. E-mail: g.ramsay2@westminster.



Mirco Saner, research associate and PhD candidate at the IAM Institute of Applied

Media Studies, Zurich University of Applied Sciences ZHAW. Research interests: media criticism, science communication. E-mail: [email protected] Florian Saurwein, senior scientist at the Institute for Comparative Media and

Communication Studies of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, and the Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt. Research interests: media technology, media change and society, media accountability, public sphere, digital democracy, public broadcasting, media governance, media politics, self-regulation and co-regulation, automation, power of algorithms. E-mail: [email protected] Kaisa Sorsa, principal lecturer at the Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland.

Research interests: media regulation, responsible business, accountability, regulatory innovations. E-mail: [email protected] Eva-Maria Svensson, professor of law at the Department of Law, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg. Research interests: freedom of speech, media freedom, constitutional law. E-mail: [email protected] Göran Svensson, senior lecturer at the Department of Informatics and Media,

Uppsala University. Research interests: media criticism, media trust, media institutions and critique, digitalisation, mediatisation, public diplomacy. E-mail: goran. [email protected] Jari Väliverronen, researcher at the Research Centre for Journalism, Media and Communication (COMET) and PhD student at the Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences, Tampere University. Research interests: political journalism, journalism change. E-mail: [email protected] Torbjörn von Krogh, media researcher affiliated to Demicom, Mid Sweden University. Research interests: media ethics, media criticism, media accountability. E-mail: [email protected] Franzisca Weder, associate professor at the Department of Media and Communications at Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt. Research interests: organisational communication, sustainability communication with a focus on environmental issues, CSR communication. E-mail: [email protected] Vinzenz Wyss, professor for journalism at the IAM Institute of Applied Media

Studies, Zurich University of Applied Sciences ZHAW. Research interests: media criticism, media quality systems. E-mail: [email protected]


Concepts and classifications of media accountability

1 THEORY AND PRACTICE OF MEDIA ACCOUNTABILITY IN EUROPE An introductory overview Tobias Eberwein, Susanne Fengler and Matthias Karmasin

Introduction Fierce public discussions about the quality and responsibility of the media, and news journalism in particular, are neither new nor uncommon. Indeed, criticism of media performance, be it in spontaneous or in more systematic forms, has been in existence for as long as there have been professionally manufactured media products; and as a stimulus for processes of (self-)reflection, this criticism has always been an important instrument to hold media professionals to account (Marzolf 1991). Recent years, however, have seen a notable upsurge of critical observations about journalistic coverage, which is presumably unprecedented in the history of the media. Reasons for this trend are manifold and include various challenges on the political, economic and technological levels, which are currently threatening the functionality of many news outlets – and the journalistic profession as a whole. Evidence is most easily discernible in the political arena: especially but not exclusively since the inauguration of US President Trump, complaints about an alleged political bias of the “mainstream media” seem to have become commonplace (Pickard 2017). Europe has witnessed a general shift to the Right and a radicalisation of political movements in many parts of the continent over the past decade. Various political activists openly denounce traditional journalistic reporting techniques as deceptive and turn to alternative (online) media to disseminate their views of the world (Heft et al. 2018). Their politically motivated critique of the media culminates in catchwords such as “fake news” or “lying press” (Lügenpresse), which characterise the assumption that professional journalists constantly distort social reality, to pursue their own political agenda. At the same time, however, journalists find it increasingly difficult to separate facts

4  T. Eberwein, S. Fengler and M. Karmasin

from fiction in a political culture that follows the dictate of strategic polarisation and “post-truth” (Albright 2017). Such problems are even aggravated by the economic challenges that newsrooms around the globe are currently facing. Due to the failure of traditional revenue models, the financial basis of professional journalism is slowly eroding, which makes extensive cuts in most areas of the journalistic working environment almost inevitable. The consequences are often drastic: while some newsrooms are forced to close down completely, others need to economise – with dangerous repercussions for journalistic diversity and independence (Alexander et al. 2016). Unfortunately, the technological innovations of the recent past have by no means helped to alleviate these tendencies. For years, both media scholars and practitioners have highlighted numerous advantages that a digitisation of public communication may bring about for journalism – for example, easier access to sources, more creative forms of content presentation or even a democratisation of the social discourse about the news (e.g. Fenton 2010). By now, however, such high hopes have given way to more pessimistic insights: the accelerated publication cycles of online journalism create a higher risk of editorial mistakes and misinformation; increasing user participation incites unparalleled waves of hate speech and trolling; and new forms of automated communication make it even more difficult to ascribe responsibility for published content (Eberwein and Porlezza 2016). All of these and similar developments exert a massive pressure on journalistic actors, who, consequently, find it ever more demanding to live up to the expectations of their role in the complex societies of the present age. In many instances, these trends lead to a far-reaching distrust in traditional news reporting – and kindle a polymorphic choir of outrage against the journalistic profession, which, ever more frequently, lets typical quality standards fall into oblivion. In situations such as these, journalists need an entity to remind them of their social responsibility, and clarify what defines good practice in their profession. Such an entity can be found in the networks of instruments of media accountability and media self-regulation (e.g. press councils, ombudspersons, media journalism, but also media criticism via social media), which seem to be more significant now than ever before. The systematic investigation of these media accountability instruments from the perspective of the journalism cultures in Europe is the core objective of this collection of original research papers. But what exactly is media accountability and what are the conceptual foundations of the term? Which instruments of media accountability do currently exist in Europe and how did they spread historically? Which kinds of approaches have media scholars, to date, chosen to make sense of this field of research? And what are the conspicuous research gaps and current challenges of media accountability initiatives from a comparative view? The introductory chapter will try to answer these questions on the grounds of a literature review, before the concept and the aims of the book can be explained in more detail.

Theory and practice of media accountability  5

Definitions and conceptual foundations It is largely undisputed that mass media and journalism, in contributing to the selfmonitoring of society, fulfil an important function when they select current topics and induct them into the social discourse (Luhmann 1996). The social relevance of the media has often been used as an argument to justify regulatory efforts, which are expected to safeguard the media’s functionality and ensure responsible behaviour by journalistic actors (e.g. McQuail 2005). However, media regulation by the state is mostly restricted to the provision of functional media structures, whereas journalistic work processes and editorial contents are usually protected from external control in democratic media systems (Puppis 2007). Because of the principle of press freedom, the idea of media self-regulation originated as an alternative regulatory concept in the media sector. It includes all of those measures that representatives of the media professions initiate themselves to provide for the fulfilment of their social function. Other than conventional forms of media regulation, which are usually defined as a question of law, media self-regulation must be understood as a question of ethics (e.g. Frost 2000): it demands responsible journalistic behaviour not by adopting external control mechanisms but by counting on the inner acknowledgement of moral norms by human beings that act on the basis of individual judgment and autonomy. In this sense, it aims at safeguarding professional quality standards in media and journalism, while simultaneously holding off control measures by the state. In contrast, the concept of regulated self-regulation (or co-regulation) describes a middle ground between internal and external control: here, the state sets up a regulatory framework in which media actors are expected to operate autonomously, to achieve predefined quality goals (Schulz and Held 2004). In the field of political science, the trend towards increasing co-operation between state and non-state actors in the process of media regulation and policy-making has recently been subsumed under the umbrella term media governance (Puppis 2010). However, the notion of media accountability, as adopted by the authors in this volume, goes one step further: it not only focuses on the state and media professionals as the key actors in the discourse about media performance and regulation but also identifies further stakeholders with an interest in free and responsible journalism, for example, media users and other members of civil society who claim their right to a say ever more often in the participatory culture of the present. Consequently, Bertrand defines media accountability as “any non-State means of making media responsible towards the public” (2000, p. 107). Similarly, but more precisely, Bardoel and d’Haenens (2004) differentiate between four media accountability frames that highlight the varying reference points and mechanisms to hold media accountable for their performance: ••

political accountability includes all types of formal regulation stipulating, for example, how broadcasting companies and newspapers will be structured and how they function;

6  T. Eberwein, S. Fengler and M. Karmasin

•• •• ••

market accountability refers to the system of supply and demand, in which the free choices of the public are given free rein and considerations of efficiency also play a role; professional accountability is linked to instruments such as ethical codes and performance standards that are used within the media, and should help in counterbalancing every excessive dependence upon politics and the market; public accountability corresponds to the media’s assignment of maintaining more direct relationships with citizens, in addition to their relationship with the aforementioned accountability frames.

Von Krogh (2012) amends this typology by stressing the considerable impact of media systems as well as the general influence of technological change on media accountability processes. Indeed, the extensive digitisation of public communication in the course of the past two decades, along with the introduction of the social web, has made it easier than ever for citizens to participate in the discourse about media responsibility, thus giving new relevance to the idea of public accountability compared with the other accountability frames. This development is reflected by the most recent taxonomies of media accountability instruments (MAIs). For instance, the comparative project “Media Accountability and Transparency in Europe” (MediaAcT) (Eberwein et al. 2011; Fengler et al. 2014) systematised its findings with the help of an axis model, which distinguishes between journalism-internal and journalism-external MAIs on the one hand, as well as institutionalised and non-institutionalised MAIs on the other hand. From this perspective, media actors are not only held accountable by traditional institutions within the journalistic profession (such as press and media councils, codes of ethics, ombudspersons or media journalism) but also external institutions such as media research, NGOs or viewer/user associations of any kind. At the same time, it is also important to consider the growing influence of the various innovative instruments of media observation that are currently flourishing on the Internet, both inside and outside of the journalistic profession (e.g. newsroom and citizen blogs, cyber-ombudspersons or media criticism via Twitter and Facebook). Process models of media accountability (e.g. Domingo and Heikkilä 2012) help to understand that both offline and online MAIs can affect journalistic practice in all phases of production, that is, before, during and after the publication of a news item. Their actual impact, however, is often questioned, because most MAIs lack the direct power to sanction any breaches of established journalistic standards. Hence, it has become a familiar custom to deride press councils and similar instruments as “toothless tigers” (Evers and Eberwein 2011), which are installed with high normative expectations that they are hardly ever able to live up to. Yet it goes without saying that the question of the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of single MAIs cannot be answered so plainly and positively from an international point of view. As comparative journalism research has shown, journalists from contrasting cultural backgrounds follow divergent ethical predispositions

Theory and practice of media accountability  7

(Hanitzsch et al. 2011) – and, therefore, also have dissimilar susceptibilities for certain professional norms and the instruments that are supposed to ensure their implementation. To understand the mode of operation of different MAIs, and the contextual factors that enable or disable their functionality, a sound knowledge about their international diffusion – also from a historical perspective – is indispensable. A first overview becomes possible on the grounds of a descriptive synopsis of 33 country reports from the European Handbook of Media Accountability (Eberwein et al. 2018a) that outline the history and the status quo of the media accountability infrastructures across Europe.1

Mapping media accountability in Europe Among the institutionalised MAIs, press councils and their codes of ethics take a prominent role. However, the history of their creation as well as their current reputation in the media systems and journalism cultures of Europe differ considerably. The concept of a press or media council as a voluntary institution of media self-regulation has its roots in northern and western Europe – with the oldest example coming from Sweden. There, the Pressens opinionsnämnd was founded as early as 1916, being complemented by a national news ombudsperson for the public since the 1960s. According to the Swedish country report, this particular combination “works fairly well”2 – just as does its counterpart in Norway, where the Press Council has been in place since 1928. Both institutions were able to revert to formalised ethical codes from early on, and they seem to “have high prestige” among members of the profession. The same is true for Finland: being active since 1968, the Finnish Council of Mass Media may be considerably younger than either of the aforementioned institutions, but its central role in the national media system is undisputed. The history of self-regulatory institutions in other western European countries has, in most of the cases, been more erratic. In the United Kingdom, a General Council of the Press was established in 1953 to avoid statutory regulation, but it never received much recognition among media practitioners, resulting in repeated attempts at restructuring and reestablishment – most recently as a consequence of the wiretapping scandal of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World. The German Presserat was founded in 1956, initially copying the structures of the British model. It took almost 20 years, however, to develop a German Press Code, which was then supplemented on a case-to-case basis – similar to its counterpart in Switzerland. The first Austrian Press Council was established in 1961 but had to discontinue its activities between 2002 and 2010 because of a dispute with the major tabloid newspaper Kronen-Zeitung. The Dutch Press Council has been active since 1960, but its adjudications seem to have “little influence on the daily practice of journalists,” as the corresponding country report asserts. By contrast, the press and media councils in Denmark, Belgium and Ireland have been established considerably later.

8  T. Eberwein, S. Fengler and M. Karmasin

The situation is strikingly different in southern Europe, where MAIs on the professional level are far less dominant, and institutionalised forms of media selfregulation sometimes do not exist at all. In France and Greece, for example, there has been no press council until recently, and the Italian Ordine dei Giornalisti is also not a real equivalent to comparable institutions in northern and western Europe, as it was established by law and regulates access to the journalistic profession, rather than following up on audience complaints. Still, even in southern Europe, some examples of institutionalised media self-control are noteworthy: Spain, for instance, does not have a national press council either, but regional organisations such as the Consell de la Informació de Catalunya or the ethical council of the Federation of Press Associations of Spain partly make up for this absence. The Portuguese Press Council originated in the 1970s but has been replaced by a successor organisation in the meantime. The Press Ethics Commission in Malta was established in 1999, still its “decisions (…) are not given importance either by audiences or by the industry.” Its Cypriot counterpart has been active since 1997, after two institutional precursors “never operated properly.” In the media systems of central and eastern Europe (CEE), institutions such as press or media councils only came into existence in the period after the fall of communism – if at all. In many cases, their foundation was, following the ideals of Western media systems, accompanied by the formulation of new codes of ethics, which, however, had difficulty in gaining acceptance among industry members. This problem is illustrated most vividly by the Avaliku Sõna Nõukogu in Estonia. Being founded in 1991 (following the Finnish model), this press council is the oldest eastern European institution of its kind. Its interventions, however, were ingested with growing scepticism by the industry, which provoked the constitution of a second press council that is now competing for national supremacy against its rival. A direct diffusion of western European models can also be observed in Lithuania, where a two-tier system of self-regulation with a press council and an ombudsperson (similar to the Swedish case) was introduced in 1996. Other press councils, for example, in Slovakia, Bulgaria and Croatia, mirror the conventional one-tier system that dominates most western European media systems. The Hungarian Media Council is a special case, because it is a firm component of the political regulatory mechanisms that were installed in the course of the controversial media law from 2010. In Poland and Romania, there are no active press councils to this day. Besides press councils and their codes of ethics, many other MAIs with a lower degree of institutionalisation (such as newsroom statutes, ombudspersons or media journalism) exist on the level of single media organisations. Similar to MAIs on the professional level, they display distinct features in the media cultures and journalism systems across Europe. Interestingly, organisational codes and newsroom statutes play a much less important role in most northern and western European countries. Likewise, the ombudsperson concept is surprisingly underdeveloped in the northern states, considering that pioneering US newspapers borrowed this MAI from Scandinavia

Theory and practice of media accountability  9

in the 1960s. By contrast, media journalism in the quality mass media of northern and western Europe, both print and broadcasting, is a frequent phenomenon. In the United Kingdom, critical coverage of the media landscape has become a “mainstream” phenomenon after the News of the World scandal – and besides, almost every other country reports at least one and in many cases several trade journal(s) and website(s). Denmark has a regular TV and a radio programme focusing on media matters, as do several Danish newspapers. In Sweden, media matters form a frequent topic for all media, with a public service radio programme being the opinion-leader; even a freesheet engages in media accountability. In Norway, all newspapers run a media beat or cover media affairs, as does the public broadcaster. In Finland, while “[i]n print media, the supply of media journalism is decreasing,” several radio and TV programmes of the public service broadcaster YLE report about the media, as does a weekly satire on private TV. In Germany and the Netherlands, newspapers and opinion magazines tackle media matters, while media criticism in broadcasting media is much less frequent. In Switzerland, many media beats in the mass media have been abolished for economic reasons, and in Austria, only two of the leading newspapers run regular media sections. Political parallelism and weak professionalism have probably been the key factors for the implementation of specific MAIs on the organisational level in many southern European countries. For example, several Portuguese quality media have organisational codes of conduct for journalists – a phenomenon that is similarly widespread in France. Typical for southern European countries seems to be the newsroom council, established as a means to protect the newsroom from the pressure of the media owners. Such councils can be found in France, Portugal and in the French-speaking part of Belgium. Also, ombudspersons are a more frequent phenomenon in the countries of southern Europe, with the exception of Italy where initiatives by Il Messaggero and La Repubblica failed. In France, Spain and Portugal, leading print and broadcast media all have introduced ombudspersons since the mid-1990s, and maintained at least several of them until now. While Italy lacks any form of media criticism (with the exception of media business reporting and satire/comedy), quality papers in Portugal do have media reporters. Media reporting in Spanish legacy media also appears to be quite developed. In Greece, infotainment and satirical programmes on TV “often pinpoint ethics breaches.” Media criticism is described as being “quite lively” in Malta, and even in Cyprus, “three outlets have regular media pages.” Trade journals exist in Portugal, France and Spain. The situation in the countries of CEE differs significantly because of their political past. This is mainly a result of the strong influence of the new media entrepreneurs after the collapse of the Soviet sphere of influence and the subsequent deregulation of the media markets, all of which hindered the development of sound infrastructures of media accountability. The situation seems most severe in Romania and Bulgaria, both latecomers to the European Union, where formalised ethical codes were adopted after fierce disputes among industry

10  T. Eberwein, S. Fengler and M. Karmasin

members, “but there have not been any practical results” until the present. In Estonia, the discussion about ethical guidelines has largely come to a halt since the onset of the stalemate between the two competing press councils. While some news outlets have adopted ethical guidelines in Latvia, a nationwide code of ethics is still missing, due to a lack of consensus between the Latvian- and the Russian-speaking media. In Lithuania, the professional code of ethics requires that all media outlets have their own internal codes of conduct, however, “this has been ignored by most of the news organisations.” In comparison, the larger CEE countries – Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia – stand out in terms of media accountability, at least with regard to the most basic organisational MAIs. Several leading news outlets, such as Gazeta Wyborcza, Týden, Mladá fronta Dnes, Pravda and Hospodárske noviny, have adopted and in some cases also published internal codes of ethics. However, there are still only a few active ombudspersons in the CEE countries. In most cases, their field of operation is restricted to the area of public broadcasting, where they are commonly stipulated by law. Media journalism also remains an exception in the established mass media; only alternative media and niche publications, which are less dependent on market mechanisms, contribute to this field of coverage more frequently. In addition to the traditional institutions of media accountability, various non-institutionalised MAIs, mostly in the online realm, have recently developed throughout Europe, both inside and outside of the journalistic profession. Compared with the United States, online MAIs appear to be less developed in northern and western Europe; still, the number of initiatives is quite remarkable. In the Scandinavian countries, as well as Germany and the Netherlands, there is a considerable number of blogs and websites focusing on the media. In Norway, the Netherlands and Germany, we find examples where editors-in-chief take on a quasi-ombudsperson role, reflecting on media ethics online. Smaller countries do not seem to support substantial media accountability on the Internet. In Switzerland, for example, many critical blogs remain “one-man-shows,” and in Austria, Kobuk is the only media blog with a durable publication history. Also, the high number of citizen media blogs in the UK has diminished in recent years, as “[s]ome of the early ‘media watchbloggers’ took up journalism jobs, fearing that continued blogging on media errors could adversely affect their careers.” At the same time, Twitter becomes ever more important as a platform for media criticism in each of these countries – not least because the key actors are increasingly creating network effects, and individual postings can quickly become news themselves. Even in Italy, observers report a lively debate about media accountability on social networking sites, involving journalists and the public alike – a sharp contrast to the limitations of traditional MAIs that can be observed there and in other media systems of southern Europe. Similarly, social media seem to have emerged as an important platform for deliberation about media accountability in Spain, while “there is little observable willingness on the part of traditional media to exploit the potential offered by the Internet.” In France, Twitter now

Theory and practice of media accountability  11

plays an important role as a channel of communication between journalists and their (elite) publics. There are also some activities in social media in Portugal, even though the country report criticises a lack of awareness among Portuguese journalists to discuss professional matters, even more so in public. The Greek news website has a very active user community, “which is often critical of journalists’ output and editorial choices.” Though not mainly concerned with journalistic accountability, a number of online news media seek to expose media misconduct in Greece. In Malta, several journalist bloggers tackle media issues, and in 2013, an innovative effort began in Cyprus with the creation of the participatory journalism platform We Report Cyprus. While most news outlets in CEE offer comment functions online, few make active use of the variety of innovative MAIs used in western Europe. Marketing imperatives dominate most initiatives to “open up” to the public, and the authors of many country reports agree that economic hardship also severely restricts online activities in the field of media accountability. Some market leaders, such as Gazeta Wyborcza in Poland and in Hungary, run media-critical blogs, but neither Twitter nor Facebook yet plays a major role as a driver of media accountability. Besides these, there are several web-based media-critical NGOs in Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, Latvia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic; also, university-managed online MAIs seem to have a bigger influence in the CEE countries, in contrast to the West. Generally, however, online MAIs are still underdeveloped in the former Eastern Bloc. Whether this can be “explained by the overall conditions of civil society development” in this part of Europe, as the authors of the Polish country report postulate, or by a “lack of knowledge about opportunities generated by the online space,” is open for debate.

Media accountability: a research synopsis Empirical media and communication research has just partly tackled these developments in a systematic manner. For a long time, the scientific debate about media accountability has focused on institutions such as press and media councils and their codes of ethics, while other (less institutionalised) forms of media (self-)regulation have gained considerably less scholarly attention. Indeed, press councils have been a popular research object for at least half a century (see Eberwein 2019 for an overview). Among the more recent accounts, Nordenstreng’s (1995) Reports on Media Ethics in Europe have long offered the most elaborate and current empirical assessment from a comparative view, including an analysis of the foundational period of various press councils, their organisational structures and their options to sanction journalistic misbehaviour. While the younger international comparisons by Koene (2009) and Fielden (2012) are certainly helpful to understand the manifold new challenges of press councils at the beginning of the 21st century, the study by Puppis (2009) was the first to combine a multi-method empirical research design with a sophisticated theoretical basis that helps to link its findings to the general academic discourse

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about media governance and media organisations. In sum, these and other studies point to various shortcomings of press councils as well as the ethical codes that they apply. Among other things, they uncover possible conflicts of interest between the member groups on the boards of a press council, disruptive influences by political or economic actors, a lack of public awareness and knowledge about a press council’s operational procedures as well as the new challenges of media convergence and digitisation as major sources of dysfunctional effects (see also Campbell 1999). These issues certainly aggravate the general problem that the verdicts by press councils often do not receive much attention – even among those actors that are directly involved in a case. By contrast, research on less institutionalised instruments of media accountability is mostly restricted to selected media systems or notable cases. Several studies on the role of the ombudsperson, for example, demonstrate that this MAI has a conceptual advantage for increasing the credibility of a news outlet, because it not only highlights journalistic errors but also intends to motivate a dialogue between a newsroom and its audience (e.g. Starck 2010). At the same time, many media organisations also use these instruments for strategic interests: while ombudspersons are a signal to the outside world, on the one hand, promising an open discourse about the quality of journalistic coverage, they also serve as a “fig leaf,” on the other hand, that wards off or at least attenuates attacks on the inner life of the newsroom (Evers et al. 2010; Nolan and Marjoribanks 2011). Similarly, substantial numbers of (mostly small-scale) empirical studies describe the potentials and pitfalls of media journalism as an MAI. On the one hand, the practice of journalistic self-observation is accompanied by high hopes that illustrate the social relevance of an internal watchdog to hold the profession accountable (e.g. Fengler 2003). On the other hand, it regularly fails to fulfil these hopes: the newspapers’ media pages prefer to focus on previews of the daily TV programmes, rather than providing contextual analyses of current media topics (Hillebrand 2005; Krüger and Müller-Sachse 1998). Peer pressure and loyalty conflicts seem to prevent critical reporting about colleagues (Engels 2005) – or even more so about their own employer (Russ-Mohl 2000). Quite regularly, media owners try to use media journalism to support their own business interests (Pointner 2010). Moreover, the genre has a problem with audience reception: as most newsrooms do not invest in copy-tests and surveys, many media journalists do not know for whom they are actually writing (Malik 2004). Beuthner and Weichert (2005) denominate these and other obstacles as “traps of self-observation,” in which media journalism is inevitably caught. The various problems of institutionalised and less institutionalised MAIs have motivated empirical media researchers to take a closer look at alternative modes of journalistic quality management. Within the scheme of the comparative MediaAcT project, for example, Heikkilä et al. (2012) demonstrate on the basis of a qualitative study with approximately 100 European experts that web-based processes of media accountability, such as media criticism in watchblogs or via Facebook and Twitter, are ascribed a high potential for carrying a debate about

Theory and practice of media accountability  13

the quality and ethics of journalism into the public. Such non-institutionalised MAIs not only increase the transparency of newsroom practice but also open up the possibility for audience members to have their say because of lower entry barriers in the online realm. However, a representative survey among almost 1,800 European journalists (Fengler et al. 2014) shows that both online and offline instruments only have a mediocre impact on newsroom practice, even in those journalism cultures with a comparatively lively tradition of media self-regulation. On a scale from 1 (= no impact on journalists’ behaviour at all) to 5 (= very high impact on journalists’ behaviour), press councils reach an average score of 2.96 – and are, thus, only a little bit more effective than media journalism in the news media (2.73) or ombudspersons (2.32). Neither do newsroom blogs (2.27) have the capacity to promise a new miracle cure in the struggle for audience trust. On the other hand, press and media law (3.70) is perceived as a considerably more powerful instrument for regulating media and journalism. In the light of such research findings, it becomes obvious to pose the question whether the concept of media accountability and its various institutionalised and non-institutionalised instruments are in the position to safeguard the quality of journalistic coverage at all – and if so, under which circumstances and in which contextual frameworks?

Media accountability in the era of post-truth politics: the book The current discussions about “fake news” and “post-truth politics,” the role of social bots and algorithms, as well as other disruptive influences on journalistic communication, leave no doubt that the quality and responsibility of the media have – once again – turned into trending topics. As the integrity of the international media landscape is challenged by far-reaching transformations, the need for a functional system of media regulation is bigger than ever. In democratic societies, various instruments of media accountability assume a key role in the process of safeguarding a free and responsible media performance. However, in the light of reintensified political influences on journalism, an advancing economisation of media communication and recent technological changes, the established system of media accountability seems to be at a crossroads. On one hand, the necessity of non-state means for holding the media responsible towards the public is largely undisputed, whereas on the other hand, the effectiveness of such instruments as a guardian of press freedom and media plurality is often questioned – both by media practitioners and media researchers. The anthology Media Accountability in the Era of Post-Truth Politics: European Challenges and Perspectives aims at mapping the state of media accountability in Europe – and at highlighting perspectives for future developments in this field. Which instruments of media accountability are currently prevailing in the various journalism cultures across Europe and how can their modes of operation be assessed? What are the particular problems and challenges they are facing?

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And which possible strategies can help to overcome these challenges? These and similar questions are discussed from an international and interdisciplinary perspective. By bringing together more than 30 scholars with a variety of national and professional backgrounds, the editors hope to broaden the view on media accountability, which only becomes graspable if it is approached as a cross-sectional research topic. Consequently, the anthology comprises 19 theoretical and empirical studies that not only build on the insights of communication sciences but are also informed by related disciplines such as sociology, cultural studies, ethics, economics, political science, law and others. Part I presents central concepts and classifications of media accountability – and consists of three introductory contributions, which illuminate the normative and conceptual foundations of the term, describe the historical spread of media accountability instruments across Europe and propose a classification of these instruments. The following sections systematise and assess the various challenges that media accountability initiatives currently have to face. Among the political and societal challenges are the recurrent disputes about “fake news” and “post-truth politics,” the particular requirements of a responsible news coverage about migration issues, obstacles in the process of media policymaking and the conflicts of journalistic actors in political regimes with limited press freedom – as the chapters in Part II show. Economic and organisational challenges of media accountability are driven by the inevitable tensions between journalism’s social function and the market-driven claims by media organisations – and the chapters in Part III discuss various examples of this opposition but also come up with strategies for reconciling it. The contributions in Part IV focus on various technological challenges, such as the ongoing trend towards media convergence, the growing influence of algorithms and social bots, as well as the specific case of web-based whistleblowing platforms. The book’s final Part V intends to highlight possible perspectives – and it does so by rethinking the role of the audience in media accountability processes, be it by assessing complaints procedures in traditional media companies or by analysing the potentials of participatory forms of media criticism on the social web. By collecting and juxtaposing these studies, the editors hope to offer new answers to the old question of how we can safeguard free and responsible media in Europe – a problem that seems to be more pressing than ever.

Background and acknowledgement The idea for this volume was conceived at a one-day pre-conference to the 6th European Communication Conference (ECC) in Prague that took place in November 2016. Organised by the editors of the book, the pre-conference with the title “Media Accountability at the Crossroads” brought together some of the most eminent media accountability scholars in Europe. While some of them had collaborated with the editors in previous projects, such as the aforementioned MediaAcT study (Eberwein et al. 2011; Fengler et al. 2014) or their European

Theory and practice of media accountability  15

Handbook of Media Accountability (Eberwein et al. 2018a), others were newcomers to the growing international network of researchers with specific expertise in media accountability and media ethics. In the closing discussion, all conference participants emphasised the need for a future institutionalisation of media accountability research – be it in the form of further conferences and workshops, joint publications or other forms of more structured cooperation. This anthology, which contains selected papers that were presented at the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) pre-conference as well as additional original contributions, can be seen as a first step in the prospective process of institutionalisation. Others will follow. The editors would like to thank the ECREA, most notably its current president Ilija Tomanić-Trivundža, for making it possible to organise a pre-conference with the given focus in the setting of ECC 2016 and for including the ensuing book in its Routledge Studies in European Communication Research and Education Series. By serving as a liaison officer to the Local Organising Committee of ECC 2016, Tereza Krobová from the Charles University in Prague offered invaluable support for making the pre-conference a reality. Todd Nesbitt, Chair of the Department of Communication and Mass Media Studies at the University of New York in Prague, was a gracious local host. Of course, neither the pre-conference nor the book would have been possible without the knowledge and endorsement by the presenters and authors who are the backbone of the network of European media accountability research. As in previous book projects, Marcus Denton was a reliable language editor and proofreader. Nonetheless, as always, any uncorrected mistakes and deficiencies remain the responsibility of the editors.

Notes 1 The following section is a summary of the more elaborate comparative evaluation of the country reports in Eberwein et al. (2018b). 2 All direct quotations that are not attributed to any particular author are taken from the country reports in the European Handbook of Media Accountability.

References Albright, J., 2017. Welcome to the era of fake news. Media and Communication, 5 (2), 87–89. Alexander, J. C., Butler Breese, E., and Luengo, M., eds., 2016. The Crisis of Journalism Reconsidered. Democratic Culture, Professional Codes, Digital Future. New York: Cambridge University Press. Bardoel, J., and d’Haenens, L., 2004. Media responsibility and accountability: New conceptualizations and practices. Communications, 29 (1), 5–25. Bertrand, C.-J., 2000. Media Ethics and Accountability Systems. New Brunswick: Transaction. Beuthner, M., and Weichert, S. A., eds., 2005. Die Selbstbeobachtungsfalle. Grenzen und Grenzgänge des Medienjournalismus. Wiesbaden: VS.

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Campbell, A. J., 1999. Self-regulation and the media. Federal Communications Law Journal, 51 (3), 711–771. Domingo, D., and Heikkilä, H., 2012. Media accountability practices in online news media. In: E. Siapera and A. Veglis, eds. Handbook of Global Online Journalism. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 272–289. Eberwein, T., 2019. Press councils. In: T. P. Vos and F. Hanusch, eds. The International Encyclopedia of Journalism Studies. Oxford, Malden (MA): Wiley-Blackwell. Eberwein, T., et al., eds., 2011. Mapping Media Accountability – In Europe and Beyond. Cologne: Halem. Eberwein, T., et al., 2018b. Summary: Measuring media accountability in Europe – and beyond. In: T. Eberwein, S. Fengler and M. Karmasin, eds. The European Handbook of Media Accountability. London and New York: Routledge, 285–300. Eberwein, T., Fengler, S., and Karmasin, M., eds., 2018a. The European Handbook of Media Accountability. London and New York: Routledge. Eberwein, T., and Porlezza, C., 2016. Both sides of the story. Communication ethics in mediatized worlds. Journal of Communication, 66 (2), 328–342. Engels, K., 2005. Medienkritik aus Akteursperspektive. Strukturen und Netzwerke der Medienberichterstattung in Printmedien. In: R. Weiß, ed. Zur Kritik der Medienkritik. Wie Zeitungen das Fernsehen beobachten. Berlin: Vistas, 395–522. Evers, H., and Eberwein, T., 2011. Can a Million Toothless Tigers Make a Difference? Potentials and Pitfalls of Web-Based Accountability Processes in German Journalism. MediaAcT Working Paper 4/2011. Available from: upload/WP4/WP4_Germany.pdf Evers, H., Groenhart, H., and Van Groesen, J., 2010. The News Ombudsman: Watchdog or Decoy? Diemen: AMB. Fengler, S., 2003. Holding the news media accountable. A study of media reporters and media critics in the United States. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 80 (4), 818–832. Fengler, S., et al., eds., 2014. Journalists and Media Accountability: An International Study of News People in the Digital Age. New York: Peter Lang. Fenton, N., ed., 2010. New Media, Old News. Journalism and Democracy in the Digital Age. Los Angeles: Sage. Fielden, L., 2012. Regulating the Press. A Comparative Study of International Press Councils. Oxford: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Frost, C., 2000. Media Ethics and Self-Regulation. London: Longman. Hanitzsch, T., et al., 2011. Mapping journalism cultures across nations: A comparative study of 18 countries. Journalism Studies, 12 (3), 273–293. Heft, A., et al., 2018. Transnational nationalism? Comparing right-wing digital news infrastructures in Western Democracies. Paper presented at the Internet, Policy & Politics Conference 2018, University of Oxford, UK, 20–21 September. Heikkilä, H., et al., 2012. Media Accountability Goes Online. A Transnational Study on Emerging Practices and Innovations. MediaAcT Working Paper 14/2012. Available from: pdf Hillebrand, C., 2005. Das Fernsehen im Spiegel der Printmedien – Konturen der Berichterstattung. In: R. Weiß, ed. Zur Kritik der Medienkritik. Wie Zeitungen das Fernsehen beobachten. Berlin: Vistas, 33–80. Koene, D., 2009. Press Councils in Western Europe. Diemen: AMB.

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Krüger, U. M., and Müller-Sachse, K. H., 1998. Medienjournalismus. Strukturen, Themen, Spannungsfelder. Opladen and Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag. Luhmann, N., 1996. Die Realität der Massenmedien. 2nd ed. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag. Malik, M., 2004. Journalismusjournalismus. Funktion, Strukturen und Strategien der journalistischen Selbstthematisierung. Wiesbaden: VS. Marzolf, M. T., 1991. Civilizing Voices: American Press Criticism 1880–1950. New York: Longman. McQuail, D., 2005. McQuail’s Mass Communication Theory. London and Thousand Oaks: Sage. Nolan, D., and Marjoribanks, T., 2011. “Public editors” and media governance at The Guardian and The New York Times. Journalism Practice, 5 (1), 3–17. Nordenstreng, K., ed., 1995. Reports on Media Ethics in Europe. Tampere: University of Tampere. Pickard, V., 2017. Media and politics in the age of Trump. Origins, 10 (2). Available from: Pointner, N., 2010. In den Fängen der Ökonomie? Ein kritischer Blick auf die Berichterstattung über Medienunternehmen in der deutschen Tagespresse. Wiesbaden: Springer. Puppis, M., 2007. Media governance as horizontal extension of media regulation: The importance of self- and co-regulation. Communications, 32 (3), 330–336. Puppis, M., 2009. Organisationen der Medienselbstregulierung. Europäische Presseräte im Vergleich. Cologne: Halem. Puppis, M., 2010. Media governance: A new concept for the analysis of media policy and regulation. Communication, Culture & Critique, 3 (2), 134–149. Russ-Mohl, S., 2000. Berichterstattung in eigener Sache: Die Verantwortung von Journalismus und Medienunternehmen. In: S. Russ-Mohl and S. Fengler, eds. Medien auf der Bühne der Medien. Berlin: Dahlem University Press, 17–38. Schulz, W., and Held, T., 2004. Regulated Self-Regulation as a Form of Modern Government. Luton: University of Luton Press. Starck, K., 2010. The news ombudsman: Viable or vanishing? In: T. Eberwein and D. Müller, eds. Journalismus und Öffentlichkeit. Eine Profession und ihr gesellschaftlicher Auftrag. Wiesbaden: VS, 109–118. von Krogh, T., 2012. Understanding Media Accountability. Media Accountability in Relation to Media Criticism and Media Governance in Sweden 1940–2010. PhD thesis. Mid Sweden University.

2 EUROPEAN MODELS OF JOURNALISM REGULATION A comparative classification João Miranda and Carlos Camponez

Introduction Given the background of governance transformations, alternative solutions of regulation have been the subject of growing interest in political and academic literature. However, self- and co-regulation remain relatively vague terms (Bartle and Vass 2005; Porter and Ronit 2006). Even in the narrow field of journalism, these concepts are not entirely clear, which results not only from the heterogeneity of theoretical perspectives but also from the plurality of regulatory solutions, with different backgrounds of organisation, composition and scope. In general terms, journalism self-regulation can be framed as the collective processes of standardisation of values and practices. These include the establishment of ethical rules and guidelines, mechanisms to ensure compliance with those standards and the arbitration of conflicts, all occurring at a varied level of autonomy from state intervention (Campbell 1999; Aznar 2005; Puppis 2009).1 It is, therefore, a process that relies on preconditions of legitimacy, symbolic control and autonomy in the socio-professional field, implying recognition and adherence to common values by the self-regulated actors (Camps 2004; Stapf 2010). Generally, self-regulation adopts different expressions that, for instance, include assuming codes of conduct or establishing bodies to enforce norms. Eberwein and Porlezza (2014) argue that the concept of media self-regulation commonly emerges linked to professional practices aimed at ensuring the quality of information. It distinguishes itself from the notion of accountability, which suggests a wider intervention range that goes beyond journalists. However, in the literature, the concept of self-regulation is used to describe distinct formats and models, ranging from organisations exclusively composed of journalists or publishers, to larger systems, including the media industry or seeking a broader social representation. As the UK Press Complaints Commission

European models of journalism regulation  19

example demonstrates (Stanistreet 2011), the concept of journalism self-regulation can ultimately be applied to describe arrangements that do not include direct intervention or the representation of journalists, despite this model being presented in the literature as a system of journalism self-regulation. The ambiguity in the use of the concepts appears even more pronounced in the co-regulation domain, especially on more generic definitions that point to different joint arrangements between public authorities, the private sector and civil society. Taking this into account, this study aims to specifically analyse examples of regulation in which journalists participate, in the European context, while trying to identify the main characteristics of those organisations. The analysis encompasses all forms of journalism regulation, irrespectively of their origin, which necessarily include the formal participation of journalists in the definition of norms, as well as in their establishment. Obviously, when dealing with regulation enabling participation by journalists, we do not intend to devalue other forms of regulation and accountability. The aim is to understand the nature and specificity of the regulatory bodies for ethical issues where journalists have representatives, bearing in mind that selfregulation translates, on a vast range of normative documents, as a moral duty of journalism. Moreover, the potential of journalists’ self-regulation has been questioned (Curran 1991; Esteves 1998; Mesquita 1998), and it is important to understand the phenomenon in its many forms of intervention. The relevance of this approach is ultimately related to the expanding trends of socio-professional responsibility, which, in the domain of journalism, involves crucial issues of professional autonomy, such as the definition of ethical norms, the promotion of media accountability and the protection of freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Methods Several studies aim to describe, classify and compare organisations of media and journalism responsibility. The publications of Puppis et al. (2004), HBI/EMR (2006), Terzis (2007) and Eberwein et al. (2018) are reference works reflecting this interest. With a special focus on journalism, Puppis (2009), Koene (2009) and Fielden (2012) analyse and compare different elements of the organisation of press councils. Recently, the investigation surrounding the MediaAcT project (see Eberwein et al. 2011; Fengler et al. 2014) has widened the perspective of accountability instruments in European and Arab journalism. Whether independently or as a result of these surveys, comparative and focused studies to characterise the territorial realities of journalism regulation are emerging and multiplying. The current analysis begins by characterising and comparing institutionalised (Fengler et al. 2011) self- and co-regulation bodies of mediation and adjudication of complaints, with the formal intervention of journalists in their composition

20  João Miranda and Carlos Camponez

or nomination. Deriving from a special focus on the southern European context, the aim is to demonstrate the inadequacy of these concepts, highlighting the pertinence of an approach that specifies regulation in which journalists participate.2 This study starts from the conceptual framework of Hallin and Mancini (2004). A sample of regulatory bodies was made to encompass a country representative of the Liberal Model (United Kingdom), two countries representing different backgrounds of the Democratic Corporatist Model (Germany and Sweden) and the set of countries included in the Polarised Pluralist Model, as proposed by Terzis (2007).3 Accordingly, the analysis encompassed the following regulatory bodies: •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• ••

Conselho Deontológico do Sindicato dos Jornalistas (Portugal) – CD/SJ (Ethics Committee of the Union of Journalists); Comissão da Carteira Profissional de Jornalista (Portugal) – CCPJ (Commission of the Journalists’ Professional Card); Comisión de Arbitraje, Quejas y Deontología del Periodismo (Spain) – CAQDP (Commission of Arbitration, Complaints and Ethics of Journalism); Consell de la Informació de Catalunya (Catalonia) – CIC (Information Council of Catalonia); Grup de treball de Defensa i Ètica Professional del Col·legi de Periodistes de Catalunya (Catalonia) – GDE/CPC (Working Group for Defence and Professional Ethics of the Professional College of Journalists of Catalonia); Collegios dei Probiviri della Federazione Nazionale Stampa Italiana (Italy) – CP/ FNSI (Boards of Arbitration of the National Federation of the Italian Press); Consiglios di Disciplina dell’Ordine dei Giornalisti (Italy) – CD/OG (Discipline Councils of the Order of Journalists); Επιτροπή Δημοσιογραφικής Δεοντολογίας (Cyprus) – ΕΔΔ (Cyprus Media Complaints Commission); Press Ethics Commission of the Institute of Maltese Journalists (Malta) – PEC/IMJ; Ethics Council of the National Union of Journalists (United Kingdom) – EC/NUJ; Journalistförbundets yrkesetiska nämnd (Sweden) – YEN/SJF (Ethics Committee of the Union of Journalists); Allmänhetens Pressombudsman/Pressens Opinionsnämnd (Sweden) – PO/PON (Press Ombudsman and Press Council); Deutscher Presserat (Germany) – DP (German Press Council).

Following the methodology applied in previous studies (Puppis 2009; Koene 2009; Fielden 2012; Puppis and d’Haenens 2013; Almiron et al. 2016), this analysis is based on two complementary methods. The first consists of the analysis of documents about or produced by the regulatory bodies (statutes, rules of procedure, reports, normative documents, organisation’s websites, brochures, news,

European models of journalism regulation  21

secondary literature and so on). The second involves conducting interviews with officials, members or spokespersons of these organisations, to clarify, complement and correct the collected information.

European types of a regulation in which journalists participate A descriptive analysis was conducted to characterise each of the regulatory bodies included in the study. This analysis was based on a qualitative reading of the collected data, organising it into twelve fundamental criteria:4 creation date; creation process and actors; actual framework; funding; organisational structure; composition of the board; appointment of members; sanctioning powers; potential complainants; ability to undertake proactive intervention; main normative documents; and scope of intervention.

United Kingdom After the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) left the British Press Council, in 1986, the Ethics Council of the National Union of Journalists (EC/NUJ) was created. It can assemble a maximum of twelve members, nominated and elected from among the unionised journalists. Currently, only unionised journalists may file complaints about transgressions to the NUJ’s code of conduct. The EC/ NUJ issues opinions on the conduct of journalists, as well as on media performance. The council’s direct sanctions involve the disclosure of decisions and warnings and it may recommend to the union’s national council fines, suspension or expulsion of the offenders.

Germany In 1956, as a reaction to the state interference threat, the association of publishers, together with the professional associations, founded the Deutscher Presserat (DP). A specialised committee to deal with complaints was only set up in the 1970s. The DP has a somewhat fragmented structure, made up of a plenary (with 28 elements), an assembly of members (with eight elements), two committees of appeal (with eight elements each) and a committee on data protection and editorial privacy (with six elements). All members are nominated by the four DP-sponsoring organisations. The bulk of DP’s funding is guaranteed by the promoters. A public subsidy is added, which may not exceed half of the organisation’s budget. The DP’s intervention focuses on the press and the conduct of journalists. Its sanctioning power lies in the disclosure of the decisions and their publication in the media. Today, most German newspapers recognise the legitimacy of the DP.

22  João Miranda and Carlos Camponez

Sweden The Swedish accountability system is considered a pioneer in Europe. Although it dates back to 1916, it was only in 1969 that the Press Council assumed its current model. Nowadays, the organisation consists of the Allmänhetens Pressombudsman (PO), which acts as a first instance body, and the Pressens Opinionsnämnd (PON), which has appeal functions. The PON is composed of 18 members, representing the promoters, the public and the law. Its scope of intervention concerns the violation of the Code of Ethics for Press, Radio and Television, by both press and digital media. Its sanctions involve the disclosure and publication of decisions in newspapers and the payment of a fee, which corresponds to a fine. This fee, together with the contribution of the promoters, guarantees the budget of the organisation. Unlike the German context, in Sweden, the role of the Journalistförbundets yrkesetiska nämnd (YEN/SJF) is to regulate the strict professional-ethical issues of journalism. Founded in 1974, the YEN/SJF is composed of four journalists and one representative of the public, all nominated by the SJF board. There is also an ethics officer who receives and moderates the complaints. Anyone can file a complaint for breach of the union’s ethics norms. The decisions of the YEN/SJF are published on their website, omitting the names of those involved. Its sanctioning power is, therefore, essentially moral.

Portugal The Portuguese case must be understood in the light of a continuous process of the state taking over journalism self-regulation. The Conselho Deontológico do Sindicato dos Jornalistas (CD/SJ) has its origin in the National Union of Journalists, imposed by Estado Novo during the dictatorship. Currently, the CD/SJ deals exclusively with ethical issues of journalism. It is composed of five members, elected by unionised journalists. Anyone can file a complaint. The CD/SJ issues opinions on the conduct of journalists (unionised or not) and on media performance. Its sanctioning power is limited to the disclosure of decisions. The main task of the CD/SJ is to ensure compliance with the code of ethics of journalists. Since 1999, the rules of the code of ethics have been assimilated into a law called the Statute of the Journalist and powers of self-regulation have been moved to the Comissão da Carteira Profissional de Jornalista (CCPJ). Unlike the French model, which has served as a prototype, since 2008 the CCPJ has had disciplinary powers, conferred by the law, to monitor and judge compliance with the ethical duties detailed in the Statute of the Journalist. The commission is composed of nine members: four journalists, elected by journalists; four journalists, nominated by media owners; and one legal expert, co-opted by the commission. The CCPJ can only deal with complaints filed by offended persons or the newsroom councils.5 The CCPJ focuses mainly on the conduct of journalists

European models of journalism regulation  23

but also monitors media companies (when employing journalists without a professional title). Its sanctioning power involves the disclosure of decisions and the reprimand or suspension of activity.

Spain The Spanish context distinguishes itself by the late start of journalism selfregulation and the pioneering role of Catalonia in that process. In 1997, the Professional College of Catalonia (CPC) created the Consell de la Informació de Catalunya (CIC), a kind of press council. Two years later, the CIC became autonomous in a private law foundation. The number of members is not predetermined by statute, but representatives of professionals and owners cannot exceed half of the board. The CIC’s constitution is designated by the foundation board which is composed of professionals, media companies, academics and the public. Today, more than 80 institutions participate in the CIC. There is also the Comisión de Arbitraje, Quejas y Deontología del Periodismo (CAQDP), created by the Spanish Press Federation of Journalists Associations in 2004, and converted into a foundation in 2011. Its foundation board is composed only of the representatives of journalism organisations. The commission, which is nominated by the foundation’s board, has between ten and 19 members, two of whom must be law experts and three journalists. Nowadays, about 40 institutions collaborate in the CAQDP. Both regulatory bodies ensure compliance with their respective codes of ethics. Anyone can file a complaint and the focus is on journalists and the media, irrespective of their membership. Its sanctioning power is limited to the disclosure of the decisions, while inviting the media to share them. Finally, there is the Grup de treball de Defensa i Ètica Professional del Col·legi de Periodistes de Catalunya (GDEP/CPC), which is a predominantly informal organisation. Its action and composition are not regulated. The GDEP/CPC has existed since the creation of the professional college and, more than the adjudication of complaints, it seeks to mediate issues of ethics between professionals. For operational reasons, it is required not to exceed six members. Unlike other bodies, most of the GDEP/CPC’s decisions are not subject to disclosure. Nonetheless, in the face of more complex cases of breach of ethical rules, it seeks to promote a public debate, usually together with the CIC.

Italy The Italian system presents a unique model in the western European context, which requires the compulsory registration in the professional Order of Journalists (ODG) as a condition of practising journalism. Legislative amendments in 2011 and 2012 led to the autonomy of the disciplinary elements. Since then, the regulation of professional ethics aspects has been delegated to the Consiglios di Disciplina dell’Ordine dei Giornalisti (CD/ODG), which consists of

24  João Miranda and Carlos Camponez

regional disciplinary councils, acting as “first instance” bodies, and the national disciplinary council, an appeal body composed of five journalists designated by the order’s national council. The Italian context was governed by a great many laws and normative documents. In 2016, ODG and FNSI agreed on the creation of a single text, which is the main guideline for the CD/ODG performance. Derived from a disciplinary body established in 1895, the Collegios dei Probiviri della Federazione Nazionale Stampa Italiana (CP/FNSI) have broader roles in monitoring the professional conduct of journalists according to the purposes of the professional federation. Still, the statutes of the organisation grant them the competence to formulate opinions on questions of moral and professional ethics. This regulatory organisation combines regional councils and a national council, the latter composed of 20 professionals and five collaborators. Its focus is mainly mediation between professionals. In addition to the disclosure of decisions, the sanctioning power of both institutions involves reprimand, suspension or expulsion.

Cyprus Created in 1997, as an outcome of discussions between media owners and the journalists’ trade union, Επιτροπή Δημοσιογραφικής Δεοντολογίας (ΕΔΔ) came to fill an institutional void in the regulation of information. Its code of ethics is included in the public broadcasting service regulations. Recently, ΕΔΔ’s board has increased to 17 members, who represent the promoting entities and the audience. Its funding comes from the promoters and, mainly, from a state subsidy. The ΕΔΔ’s scope covers both the conduct of journalists and the performance of all types of media. Its sanctioning power results from the obligation to publish its decisions in the media when there has been a violation of the code of ethics.

Malta The present Press Ethics Commission of the Institute of Maltese Journalists (PEC/IMJ) is a successor of the ethics body of the Maltese Press Club. The association has been called the IMJ since 2004, and it has a similar role to a journalists’ union. The commission is nominated by the professional association board and has seven members, plus a secretary without the right to vote. The president and one other member must belong to the legal profession. The PEC/IMJ’s scope focuses on transgressions of the ethical code by journalists. By statute, only the offended can file a complaint. The PEC/IMJ procedures are deeply law-driven. Its sanctions are limited to the warning and possible disclosure of decisions.

Confronting models of regulation The preceding characterisation is intended to illustrate European examples of regulation in which journalists participate, while trying to understand and

European models of journalism regulation  25

highlight the main elements of the organisations. However, this descriptive analysis also shows that, even within this regulatory spectrum, the individual models show substantial differences, at the level of framework, configuration and objectives, which should be further elaborated. This analysis also aims to categorise the distinctive context of regulation enabling participation by journalists. One of the most outstanding elements in this distinction is linked to the origins of the different regulatory bodies (see Table 2.1). These can be summarised as three different types. The first concerns the fact that most of the bodies in this sample result from the isolated and voluntary initiative of journalist organisations. The second derives from the articulation between different actors (in these examples circumscribed to the industry: journalists and media owners). The third type results from the legal imposition of self-regulatory processes (as with the Portuguese CCPJ and the Italian ODG). The process that led to the foundation of these bodies does not necessarily reflect their current institutional framework. An example is the attempt to empower the Spanish CIC and the CAQDP through their reconstitution as foundations of private law.The other regulatory bodies of a more professional matrix remain statutory and structurally integrated into their founding organisations.6 Indeed, it is this statutory framework that explains why their economic and funding arrangements derive directly from the professional associations. Among the remaining bodies, three major funding methods are identified. One refers to the direct and shared contribution of the promoting entities. Another, with a lower impact on the activity of the organisations (apart from the Portuguese example of CCPJ), is related to its own revenues, mainly resulting from the fees paid by either or both the adherent entities and financial penalties. The third format derives from the political recognition of the social role of the third sector in the regulation of information. However, in these cases there is a concern to emphasise the independence and autonomy from the sources of such subsidies, to the extent that the German DP determines that this amount cannot exceed half of its budget. The composition of the different bodies also stands out as a distinctive feature (see Table 2.2). It is natural that the mechanisms anchored in labour structures are composed exclusively of journalists, elected by their peers or nominated by them (indicated by the boards of the respective organisations). There are, however, two exceptions: the Swedish YEN/SJF, which includes a public opinion representative, and the PEC/IMJ, which, despite being proposed by the board of the Maltese Institute, requires the participation of legal experts. The reasons behind the Swedish case relate to the attempt to open the mechanism to public opinion, promoting a wide ethical-professional debate outside the boundary of the profession. The Maltese case relates to the historical and procedural aspects of the regulatory body. Apart from the German DP and the Portuguese CCPJ, whose compositions are fundamentally sectorial, the institutions’ overture to public opinion is evident in all other organisations. In this respect, the Spanish bodies, whose statutes define that public representatives must come from the areas of education, ethics,

1979 (1990) 1994 (2008) 1997 (1999) 2004 (2011) 1986 2011 1895 (1943) 1997 1999 (2004) 1986 1956 (1985) 1916 (1969) 1974

CD/SJ (Portugal) CCPJ (Portugal) CIC (Catalonia) CAQDP (Spain) GDEP/CPC (Catalonia) CD/ODG (Italy) CP/FNSI (Italy) ΕΔΔ (Cyprus) PEC/IMJ (Malta) EC/NUJ (UK) DP (Germany) PO/PON (Sweden) YEN/SJF (Sweden)

Source:  authors’ own data.

Creation date (current model)

Regulatory body (and country) Professional organisation By law Professional organisation Professional organisation Professional organisation By law Professional organisation Discussion journalists/owners Professional organisation Professional organisation Discussion journalists/owners Discussion journalists/owners Professional organisation

Origin Professional organisation Autonomous Autonomous (foundation) Autonomous (foundation) Professional organisation Professional organisation Professional organisation Autonomous Professional organisation Professional organisation Autonomous Autonomous Professional organisation

Current framework

TABLE 2.1 Fundamental elements of origin and framework of the analysed regulatory bodies

Professional organisation Own revenues/Public funding Sponsors/Own revenues Sponsors/Own revenues Professional organisation Professional organisation Professional organisation Public funding/Sponsors Professional organisation Professional organisation Sponsors/Public funding Sponsors/Own revenues Professional organisation


5 9

NP1 (12) 2 10 to 19 (12) 2 3 to 6 (3) 2 9/53 5 to 11/253 17

7 Up to 12 28/8/8/8/63 1/183


CD/SJ (Portugal) CCPJ (Portugal)

CIC (Catalonia) CAQDP (Spain) GDEP/CPC (Catalonia) CD/ODG (Italy) CP/FNSI (Italy) ΕΔΔ (Cyprus)

PEC/IMJ (Malta) EC/NUJ (UK) DP (Germany) PO/PON (Sweden)

YEN/SJF (Sweden)

Journalists/Public opinion

Journalists/Law Journalists Journalists/Owners Journalists/Owners/Law/Public opinion

Journalists/Owners/Public opinion Journalists/Owners/Law/Public opinion Journalists Journalists Journalists Journalists/Owners/Public opinion

Journalists Journalists/Journalists representing owners/Law

Board representation

Election by journalists Election by journalists/Appointment by owners/ Co-option by the board Appointment by journalists/owners/public opinion Appointment by journalists Appointment by journalists Appointment by journalists Election by journalists Appointment by journalists/owners/Co-option by the board Appointment by journalists Election by journalists/Appointment by journalists Appointment by journalists/owners Appointment by journalists/owners/public opinion/law Appointment by journalists

Co-option model

Notes:  1 NP = Not predetermined; 2 The statutes do not always establish the required number of members. The data in brackets represents the current number of members; 3 Some organisations are composed of different elements. The information separated by a forward slash identifies the number of elements.

Source:  authors’ own data.

Number of members

Regulatory body (and country)

TABLE 2.2 Fundamental elements of composition of the analysed regulatory bodies

28  João Miranda and Carlos Camponez

culture or law, are particularly notable. In this sample, the Portuguese CCPJ adopts a unique arrangement, with some professionals representing their peers and other journalists nominated by owners. When summarising procedural and sanctioning aspects of the analysed bodies, relevant differences also arose (see Table 2.3). Most of the regulatory bodies considered here accept and analyse complaints submitted by anyone. Nevertheless, there are a few exceptions. Complaints filed by third parties in the Swedish PO/PON must have the consent of those targeted by the news contents. Concurrently, the Maltese PEC/IMJ statutes state that only the offended can submit complaints. In the British EC/NUJ, the Catalan GDEP/CPC and the Italian CP/FNSI, as predominantly mediation and professional disciplinary bodies, only associated or unionised journalists can present cases. The Portuguese CCPJ restricts complaint submissions to the offended and newsroom councils. Most of the organisations can start proceedings on their own initiative, without a previous complaint. Four major types can be identified: the bodies that only deal with the ethicalprofessional aspects of journalists’ actions; those that focus strictly on the behaviour of the associated journalists; those that only monitor the media performance and those that, independently of media involvement, give opinions on both professional conduct and media performance. Although their discussion includes diverse jurisprudence, the analysed institutions base their intervention on the ethical-normative apparatus endorsed by the organisations themselves or by the founding entities. Even the Italian CD/ODG, whose creation is primarily legally designed, and is part of a system characterised by a vast range of normative documents, has adopted a single text of professional norms since 2016. Once more, only the Italian CP/FNSI and the Portuguese CCPJ are the exceptions. Underlining the disciplinary role of the first, the main role of the ethical text is shared with the professional association statutes. On the other hand, the CCPJ is the only regulatory body whose ethical-normative precepts were captured by the law. The sanctioning power of these organisations is mainly of a moral nature, except for the Catalan GDEP/CPC, whose deliberations are mostly internal, and all bodies make use of different means to disseminate their decisions. At the same time, all organisations have distinct ways of admonition or reprimand on a moral basis. In both a mandatory or voluntary manner, the disclosure of the decisions in the involved media assumes a sanctioning quality. Infrequently, more severe forms of sanction are identified, namely the financial penalty, practice suspension or expulsion of the organisation.

Categorisation of models: a proposal based on two axes As shown by Bartle and Vasse (2005), behind concepts of self-, co- and heteroregulation, there are relatively distinct perspectives that may assume different subcategories. Even in the range of alternative solutions, authors such as Ayres

Public Public/Newsroom councils Public Public Associated journalists Public Associated journalists Public Public Associated journalists Public Public Public

CD/SJ (Portugal) CCPJ (Portugal) CIC (Catalonia) CAQDP (Spain) GDEP/CPC (Catalonia) CD/ODG (Italy) CP/FNSI (Italy) ΕΔΔ (Cyprus) PEC/IMJ (Malta) EC/NUJ (UK) DP (Germany) PO/PON (Sweden) YEN/SJF (Sweden) “Ethics Code” “Journalist’s Statute” (law) “Ethics Code” “Ethics Code” “Ethics Code” “Single Text” FNSI’s statutes/“Single Text” “Code of Practice” “Code of Journalistic Ethics” “Code of Conduct” “Press Code” “Code of Ethics for PRT” “Professional Rules”

Main normative document Discl. Discl./Susp./Fine Discl. (Pub.) Discl. (Pub.) Internal discl. Discl./Susp./Exp. Discl. (Exp.) Discl./Pub. Discl. Discl. (Fine/Susp./Exp.) Discl./Pub. Discl./Pub./Fine Discl. (Exp.)

Sanctioning limits

Media/Journalists Journalists/Media companies Media/Journalists Media/Journalists Associated journalists Journalists Associated journalists Media/Journalists Journalists Media/Journalists Press/Journalists Press Associated journalists


Notes:  Discl. = Disclosure of the decisions; Susp. = Suspension of membership or professional practice; Pub. = Obligation to publish decisions; Exp. = Withdrawal of membership or termination of professional practice; (xyz) = Some types of sanction cannot be applied directly but can be suggested to the media or to the boards of organisations.

Source:  authors’ own data.

Potential complainants

Regulatory body (and country)

TABLE 2.3 Fundamental elements of procedure and sanctioning limits of the analysed regulatory bodies

30  João Miranda and Carlos Camponez

and Braithwaite (1992), Black (1996) and Bartle and Vass (2007) suggest that the domains of self- and co-regulation may be typified according to different nuances, representing distinct levels of state involvement and the degree of the voluntary action of civil society. Although most of the literature focused on the journalism field tends to place regulation on a continuum between solutions of pure self-regulation and full state control, these perspectives do not express the complexity of relations existing in the domain of self- and co-regulation (Finkelstein 2012; Tomlinson 2012). Based on the previously mentioned criteria for the characterisation of the European journalists’ regulatory bodies, four major dimensions were identified. These were further classified on two axes: one determined by the nature of the analysed regulatory initiatives, whether voluntary or mandated by the state; and the other reflecting the composition of the regulatory bodies, whether they are strictly represented by professionals or shared with other representative actors (see Figure 2.1). These dimensions make it possible to assign the analysed bodies in a schematic spectrum, and to group them into four reference categories, which can be characterised as follows.

Voluntary professional regulation Voluntarily created within the professional associations, these bodies are composed exclusively or predominantly of journalists, and generally have fewer










· DP · EAA · PEC/IMJ SHARED FIGURE 2.1 Distribution

of regulatory bodies according to the two axes of analysis

European models of journalism regulation  31

members than the shared solutions of journalism regulation. In this sense, their funding also results predominantly from the professional associations. While eminently professional bodies, their actions focus essentially on the conduct of journalists (in most cases, unionised journalists), while emphasising the ethical-professional elements of the activity. However, in some cases, the issuance of opinions about the performance of the media is also identified. Their sanctioning power is essentially moral, through disclosure of opinion, and either or both of warnings and reprimands. Nonetheless, in some cases, the suspension or withdrawal of membership may be suggested to the boards of professional associations.

Voluntary shared regulation Two essential paths for the formation of this type of organisms are identified: broadly created within the media industry or proposed by professional organisations. However, this kind of solution is not intended to be closed or exclusive. In fact, a wide range of actors is identified, such as journalists, media owners and public opinion representatives as well as legal experts and academics. These members are commonly appointed by the promoting entities. Contrary to what is identified in the voluntary professional regulation solutions, these bodies focus predominantly on the performance and content of the media, while also monitoring the actions of journalists. In general terms, their sanctioning power involves the disclosure of decisions and different forms of warning. Despite their voluntary nature, sanctioning power may involve a more coercive action than the voluntary professional models – the media may be obliged to publish those decisions, and in some cases, more severe penalties include fines. Although the main source of funding derives from the promoters, a wide range of sources of revenue is identified, from public funding and their own revenues.

Mandated professional regulation While common among other types of profession, this is an unusual solution in the journalism field. It derives from formalisation and an increasing legal intervention in the exercise of the activity. Created within the professional associations, according to the requirements of the law, these types of bodies are exclusively composed of professionals, who are appointed by the professional organisations’ boards. Resulting from these different aspects, their scope of intervention is limited to the conduct of journalists, conferring great significance on monitoring compliance with the ethical-professional elements of journalism. As organisations with a prominent formal nature, their sanctioning powers are greater than purely moral considerations. They involve, as in other cases, the disclosure of decisions and reprimands but also include the withdrawal of membership, which ultimately results in suspension of journalistic activity. These bodies are funded by professional organisations.

32  João Miranda and Carlos Camponez

Mandated shared regulation Similar to mandated professional regulation, this type of solution is also established by legislative initiative, although it emphasises a more independent or public nature. The boards of these organisations consist of a complex combined solution, with journalists representing their peers (and elected by them) and journalists representing the owners (appointed by them), and obligatorily joined by a legal expert. Although their interventions focus on ethical-professional aspects of journalists’ conduct, these result from a legal appropriation of those ethical elements. In very particular cases, the media companies can also be sanctioned. As in mandated solutions with a strictly professional nature, a heavier sanctioning burden may be involved, encompassing moral punishment, but also pecuniary penalties or even suspension of professional practice. Emphasising the public nature and independence from the industry, their budgets derive from their own revenues and public funding.

Conclusions The present study was designed to identify and characterise different models of ethical-professional regulation involving journalists’ intervention in Europe. From a comparative analysis, it was possible to identify the essential elements that contributed to a classification proposal. The analysis revealed differences and specificities derived from distinct criteria, such as foundation model, composition, nomination, scope, sanctioning capabilities and funding sources. Based on these criteria, it was possible to identify two main axes framing the regulatory bodies in which journalists participate. Despite the effort to classify the analysed organisations in major categories, significant specificities and heterogeneities stand out. The cases of the Portuguese CCPJ and the Italian CD/ODG are noteworthy due to the substantial state intervention. The extension of this analysis to other countries and organisations will help to clarify if we are dealing with a particularity that is applicable to other journalistic governance cultures or if it corresponds to a Polarised Pluralist Model specificity (Hallin and Mancini 2004). Nowadays, when governance models are increasingly imposing more demanding responsibilities on the journalists’ domain, the identification of their specificities becomes paramount, and supports as well the creation of common European-based performing models. The initiative brought up by the French president on the fake news issue and the project to create a new press council, the effort of the Spanish journalists to reorganise themselves into professional colleges and the endeavour of Portuguese journalists to seek new forms of professional representation and self-regulation are examples with an uncertain future, but they demonstrate the relevance of this subject. Nonetheless, the current study presents a hypothesis of characterisation that can serve as a reference for other comprehensive analyses of regulatory bodies in which journalists participate.

European models of journalism regulation  33

Acknowledgement This work was supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) in the framework of the PhD fellowship FCT SFRH/ BD/87020/2012.

Notes 1 As Iglesias (2012), Puppis et al. (2012) and Hulin (2014) mention, journalism selfregulation does not necessarily reflect complete detachment from the state domain. The state may intervene differently in information self-regulation, for instance, by promoting and encouraging its practice or even sanctioning or mandating it. 2 This study is part of a doctoral research study focused on the characterisation of the professional regulation of Portuguese journalism, which encompasses other empirical instruments. The analysis presented here derives from the synthesis of a descriptive analysis of the organisations and regulation models, which has as its starting point the comparison with the Portuguese model. This explains the focus on the Southern European context. 3 These countries are Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain and Turkey (Terzis 2007). Initially, this study encompassed a more detailed analysis of the Turkish Press Council, but a contact interruption with the officials made it impossible to include it in this analysis. A substantial number of trade unions were identified in Greek journalism (many of them include their own normative bodies), making it impractical to address them all in this analysis. It is also worth mentioning that, in France, regulatory organisations in which journalists participate do not currently exist. Despite the changes in the British system of self-regulation, following the News of the World Scandal and Leveson Inquiry (Jempson et al. 2018), the newly created organisations remain without formal direct intervention of journalists. Further details about the British context are included in Ramsay and Moore’s chapter for this publication. 4 Due to the formal requirements of the text, the analysis presented here is limited to these elements. The original research has a wider range of analytical criteria, such as compensation of members, intervention of external members, technical secretariat, frequency of meetings and number of decisions issued in 2015. 5 Newsroom councils are decentralised professional bodies that are common in Portuguese journalism. Although their establishment is enshrined in law, the organisations are voluntary – and today there are only few examples. 6 Although not identified in the last approved statutes, it is interesting to note that the PEC/IMJ and ODG appear as members of the Alliance of Independent Press Councils of Europe on its website.

References Almiron, N., Narberhaus, M., and Mauri, M., 2016. Mapping media accountability in stateless nations: The case of Catalonia. Catalan Journal of Communication & Cultural Studies, 8 (2), 207–225. Ayres, I., and Braithwaite, J., 1992. Responsive Regulation: Transcending the Deregulation Debate. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Aznar, H., 2005. Comunicação responsável: A auto-regulação dos media. Porto: Porto Editora. Bartle, I., and Vass, P., 2005. Risk and the Regulatory State: A Better Regulation Perspective. Bath: The University of Bath. Bartle, I., and Vass, P., 2007. Self‐regulation within the regulatory state: Towards a new regulatory paradigm? Public Administration, 85 (4), 885–905.

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Black, J., 1996. Constitutionalising self‐regulation. The Modern Law Review, 59 (1), 24–55. Campbell, A. J., 1999. Self-regulation and the media. Federal Communications Law Journal, 51 (3), 712–772. Camps, V., 2004. Instituiciones, agencias y mecanismos de supervisión mediática. In: J. Sancho and V. González, eds. Ética de los médios: Una apuesta por la ciudadanía audiovisual. Barcelona: Gedisa, 233–251. Curran, J., 1991. Mass media and democracy: A reappraisal. In: J. Curran and M. Gurevitch, eds. Mass Media and Society. London: Edward Arnold, 82–117. Eberwein, T., et al., eds., 2011. Mapping Media Accountability – In Europe and Beyond. Cologne: Halem. Eberwein, T., Fengler, S., and Karmasin, M., eds., 2018. The European Handbook of Media Accountability. London and New York: Routledge. Eberwein, T., and Porlezza, C., 2014. The missing link: Online media accountability practices and their implications for European media policy. Journal of Information Policy, 4, 421–443. Esteves, J. P., 1998. A ética da comunicação e dos media modernos: Legitimidade e poder nas sociedades complexas. Lisboa: Gulbenkian/JNICT. Fengler, S., et al., eds., 2014. Journalists and Media Accountability: An International Study of News People in the Digital Age. New York: Peter Lang. Fengler, S., Eberwein, T., and Leppik-Bork, T., 2011. Mapping media accountability – In Europe and beyond. In: S. Fengler et al., eds. Mapping Media Accountability – In Europe and Beyond. Cologne: Halem, 7–22. Fielden, L., 2012. Regulating the Press: A Comparative Study of International Press Councils. Oxford: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Finkelstein, R., 2012. Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Media and Media Regulation. Canberra: Australian Federal Government. Hallin, D. C., and Mancini, P., 2004. Comparing Media Systems: Three Models of Media and Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. HBI/EMR, 2006. Study on Co-Regulation Measures in the Media Sector. Study for the European Commission, Directorate Information Society and Media Unit A1 Audiovisual and Media Policies. Available from: http:​//www​.pedz​.uni-​m annh​eim.d​ e/dat​en/ed​z-du/​gda/0​6/med​ia_se​ctor_ ​fi nal ​_ rep_​en.pd​f Hulin, A., 2014. Statutory Media Self-Regulation: Beneficial or Detrimental for Media Freedom? EUI Working Paper RSCAS 2014/127. Fiesole: European University Institute. Iglesias, C., 2012. Varieties of Statutory Regulation. London School of Economics and Political Science. Available from: http:​//blo​g​​u k/me​d iapo​l icyp​rojec​t/201​ 2/11/​28/va​r ieti​es-of​- stat​utory​-regu​latio​n / Jempson, M., Powell, W., and Reardon, S., 2018. United Kingdom: Post-Leveson, media accountability is all over the place. In: T. Eberwein, S. Fengler and M. Karmasin, eds. The European Handbook of Media Accountability. London and New York: Routledge, 277–284. Koene, D. C., 2009. Press Councils in Western Europe. Amsterdam: Netherlands Press Council Foundation. Mesquita, M., 1998. Jornalismo em análise: A coluna do provedor dos leitores. Coimbra: Minerva. Porter, T., and Ronit, K., 2006. Self-regulation as policy process: The multiple and crisscrossing stages of private rule making. Policy Sciences, 39 (1), 41–72. Puppis, M., 2009. Organisationen der Medienselbstregulierung. Europäische Presseräte im Vergleich. Cologne: Halem. Puppis, M., et al., 2004. Selbstregulierung und Selbstorganisation. Zurich: Universität Zürich.

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Puppis, M., Broughton Micova, S., and Tambini, D., 2012. Reforming the PCC: Lessons from abroad. In: S. Broughton Micova and D. Tambini, eds. Media Policy Brief. London: London School of Economics and Political Science. Puppis, M., and d’Haenens, L., 2013. Comparing media policy and regulation. In: F. Esser and T. Hanitzsch, eds. Handbook of Comparative Communication Research. New York: Routledge, 221–233. Stanistreet, M., 2011. NUJ chief Michelle Stanistreet’s statement to the Leveson inquiry. The Guardian. Available from: https ​://ww ​w.the​g uard ​ian.c​om/me​d ia/2​011/n​ov/16​/ mich​elle-​stani​stree​t-lev​eson-​i nqui​r y Stapf, I., 2010. Selbstkontrolle. In: C. Schicha and C. Brosda, eds. Handbuch Medienethik. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 164–185. Terzis, G., ed., 2007. European Media Governance: National and Regional Dimensions. Bristol: Intellect. Tomlinson, H., 2012. What is Press Regulation? Six Different Models. London School of Economics and Political Science. Available from: http:​//blo​g​​u k/me​d iapo​l icy p​rojec​t/201​2/12/​02/wh​at-is​-pres​s-reg ​u lati​on-si​x-dif ​feren​t-mod​els/

3 THE CIRCULAR IMPACT MODEL Conceptualising media accountability Caroline Lindekamp

Following up from communication studies The media accountability process is moved into action whenever someone asks a journalist or a news organisation to explain professional behaviour and justify its consequences (Nemeth 2000, p. 42). The Hutchins Commission’s statement in 1947 marked a decisive cornerstone for the media accountability concept: the statement paved the way for the replacement of libertarian theory with social responsibility theory (Siebert et al. 1956). Structural media changes such as ongoing mediatisation, increasing commercialisation and convergence have repeatedly brought urgency to the concept. More recent definitions make the newsroom the focal point of research and evolve around the instruments of media accountability. They are “any non-state means of making media responsible towards the public” (Bertrand 2003, p. 107) and aim to reconcile the significance of media as a societal institution acting on behalf of the general good with the declining capacity to control them (McQuail 1997, p. 511). Digitisation and the rise of social media platforms ended journalists’ monopoly on news and significantly altered media accountability processes. Since the end of the traditional gatekeeper role (Westlund 2013; Schwalbe et al. 2015; Nielsen 2017), participatory forms of media accountability have gained importance. Fengler et al. (2011, p. 20) define media accountability instruments as “any informal institution, both offline and online, performed by both media professionals and media users, which intends to monitor, comment on and criticise journalism and seeks to expose and debate problems of journalism” on different levels. While scholarship had first focused on single-case studies – either on individual instruments or, less frequently, on national media accountability cultures – comparative studies have now started to emerge. They reveal variations in media

The circular impact model  37

accountability across nations and prove the impact of the media system on the functioning of the instruments. Varying effects of media accountability are an evident consequence. However, so far, the academic debate on the impact of media accountability is mainly theoretical and normative (Fengler et al. 2015, p. 252).

An alternative assessment of media accountability When developing a study design for the contextual exploration of media accountability, it is helpful to place the research subject in a variable-analytical approach (Bovens et al. 2010, p. 34). This means media accountability is either a dependent or an independent variable in relation to other variables (Reese 2007, p. 33). The circular impact model (CIM) considers the dependencies in both directions, which dictates the model’s structure: it consists of two parts, one focusing on the impact on, the other on the impact of media accountability.

The impact on media accountability Publications on national media accountability cultures show the distinct nature of media accountability across nations. It is unlikely that the same set of instruments is implemented in two or more countries; and rarely does an instrument in one country function in exactly the same way as in another. This variety is due to the complexity of media system relations. “Lines of accountability” (McQuail 2006, p. 52) attach the media to their social environment. In reverse, the appearance and “the meaning of ‘media accountability’ is coloured by the surrounding society” (von Krogh 2008b, p. 20). Several scholars translate these complex interrelations into more practical terms and suggest multi-dimensional frameworks. As an early example in the “search for a framework,” Dennis and Gillmor (1989, p. viii) identify “several arenas for discussion.” McQuail (1997, p. 521) defines four media accountability frames. They are frames of reference “within which expectations concerning conduct and responsibility arise and claims are expressed. [They also indicate] the ways in which such claims should be handled” (McQuail 2003, p. 219). In the same fashion, Bardoel and d’Haenens (Bardoel 2000; Bardoel and d’Haenens 2004a, 2004b) distinguish accountability mechanisms: political accountability relates to law and other means of external regulation, and thus, is enforceable. Market accountability is best summarised by the principle of demand and supply. Ideally, it concludes in a pluralistic media landscape, but in reality it often contradicts demands expressed through public accountability. The latter links the media with the citizens and addresses the public service role of the media. Professional accountability aims at increasing the quality of performance and the status of the profession by enforcing professional standards. Von Krogh adjusted the approach and put emphasis on media technologies and features of the media systems as external factors that “help mould the conditions

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for the accountability processes” (von Krogh 2012, p. 21). In correspondence with the emphasis on external factors, he makes the connection with Hallin and Mancini’s Comparing Media Systems. Departing from the question on what shapes journalism, Hallin and Mancini (2004) identify three models of media systems, which have already been presented extensively in other publications. “The interesting thing about the models in the present context is that they show how both the ability and the means to hold the media accountable have developed differently in different parts of the western world” (von Krogh 2008b, p. 19). The MediaAcT consortium took von Krogh’s idea a step further by discussing “context factors for self-regulation and media accountability in different journalistic cultures” (Dobek-Ostrowaska et al. 2014, p. 160). Shoemaker and Reese’s (1996, 2014) seminal work on the theory of influences on mass media content is implemented. Unlike single-dimensional research designs that focus only on media professionals, for example, such a multi-dimensional approach takes the interaction between individuals and context into consideration. Especially when applied in comparative work, “single-level research largely fails to distinguish the social origins and processes that are working to produce similarities and differences between nations” (McLeod and Lee 2012, p. 434); it exposes the risk of underspecified and potentially misleading findings. To reduce this risk, I adopt the idea of exploring the impact on media accountability via The Hierarchy of Influences (Shoemaker and Reese 1996, 2014).

The variables Several scholars have presented models for a socially inclusive assessment of journalism.1 They accept that the profession depends not only on processes within media organisations but also on external forces. Shoemaker and Reese summarise the approach in The Hierarchy of Influences. Their model comprises five levels of influence from the macro to the micro levels. The five levels as a collective represent the independent variable; media content is the dependent variable. This systematic understanding is applicable in other fields of journalism studies. Then media content as the dependent variable is replaced by other phenomena, for example, by media accountability. The Hierarchy of Influences is a centric model and can be accessed in both directions: going from the macro to micro level or vice versa. Beginning with the introduction to the model from the innermost circle, the individual “is progressively hemmed in by more and more layers of constraint” (Reese 2007, p. 37). Their socialisation, demographic features and attitudes shape their professional understanding and thereby have an indirect effect on the dependent variable: the handling of and the reaction to media accountability instruments. The next level out concerns the ways that constitute professional practice. These routines are rarely made explicit but involve tacit knowledge. Next, the organisational level explains how news organisations work – from a minimalist blogging entity to a large-scale media enterprise. The fourth level is directed at factors of influence

The circular impact model  39

external to the journalistic field. At this extra-media level, the individual media organisations come together into a larger societal institution, which is influenced by economic, political and cultural forces, as well as by the audience. Finally, at the most macro level analyses focus on the role of the social system, ideologies and cultures. Fengler et al. (2014, p. 19) suggest replacing the ideological with a transnational level to include processes of internationalisation. In the introduction, I adopted a definition evolving around media accountability instruments. Accordingly, the instruments are the second variable in the model for the exploration of the impact on media accountability. Their implementation and functioning depend on the levels of influence.

The categories Journalism evolves under the impression of external transforming as well as transformative forces. These might encourage, ignore, hinder or misuse media accountability. While the variables are adopted from former research, the categories are collected from the range of existing instruments. Encouragement of media accountability: press councils are considered to be one of the first attempts to exercise systematic self-regulation and their development in different countries is well documented (Bertrand 1978; Koene 2009; Fielden 2012). The establishment of press councils around the world provides many examples for the encouragement of media accountability – for instance, the British press council was formed as a self-regulatory body, but it had been “encouraged” by media-external forces, inter alia, by the Royal Commission of the Press (Elsaka 2001). Movements “encouraging” the establishment of a French press council go back to 1946, but so far they have failed (Baisnée and Balland 2011). Ignorance of media accountability: media ombudspersons, the mediators between the newsroom and its audience (Evers 2012), are underrepresented in northern European countries but are gaining prominence in some countries in southern Europe (Fengler et al. 2011, p. 43) and elsewhere. The lack of national goodpractice examples could be a reason why media organisations do not consider installing an ombudsperson; they “ignore” the potential of the media accountability instrument. Ignorance of a media accountability instrument on one level of influence does not hinder the encouragement of the same on another level. This aspect is important in distinguishing this category from the next. Hindrance to media accountability: just as initiatives in France advocate for a press council, elsewhere media professionals campaign for ombudsmen. Such initiatives can be blocked at several levels and for several reasons. Critics consider that ombudspersons would tie up financial resources that media organisations could spend in other ways (Meyers 2000, p. 248). For example, an entrepreneur might prefer to increase the number of staff in his or her investigative team rather than exempting an employee from his usual tasks to function as an ombudsperson. In terms of variables and categories: the implementation of the instrument is hindered at the organisational level.

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Misuse of media accountability: this category is most expected in media systems that display a low level of media freedom. Scholars highlight the risk of misuse of instruments as another means of repression in such countries (Singh 2005; Tettey 2006; Pies 2014). In more liberal contexts, misuse can arise, inter alia, at the organisational level: an ombudsperson functions as a public relations ploy that looks promising but achieves nothing (Nemeth 2003). At the extra-media level, letters to the editor are misused as so-called astroturf support, fake grassroots activities, which plagiarise participation (Klotz 2007). Figure 3.1 combines the variables and the categories into a model, which outlines a way to analyse the impact on media accountability. The four categories do not imply a judgement on the different ways of impacting on media accountability. At first glance, a promoter of the concept might consider its encouragement a positive trend. Nevertheless, just the opposite might occur too: critics mention that externally driven instruments lack acceptance among media professionals. Forms of “voluntary restraint” (Elsaka 2001, p. 151) are potentially limited in their effectiveness. To explore questions on the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of impacting on media accountability the framework needs to be extended.

The impact of media accountability Media scholars and practitioners regularly question the effectiveness of media accountability and individual instruments – sometimes as a limit to media freedom under the guise of journalism ethics, or as publicity-seeking window-dressing. Research can contribute purposeful input to the debate, but so far it has come up with fewer models that conceptualise questions about the impact of media accountability than with those conceptualising questions about the impact on media accountability.

FIGURE 3.1  Media

accountability (MA) as the dependent variable: the impact on media accountability

(Source:  the author).

The circular impact model  41

The connection of media accountability with the concepts of responsiveness or answerability implies questions about the impact of media accountability. Both presume the willingness to accept critics and to create a dialogue with the audience (Christians 1989; McQuail 2003; de Haan 2012). Similarly, other scholars single out “the perceived impact of media accountability instruments [as] latent factors [that make up] accountability cultures” (Mazzoleni and Splendore 2014, p. 168; see also von Krogh 2008a, p. 123) and ask for their level of impact on “ journalists’ behaviour.”2 The term potentially includes a plethora of concrete actions, inter alia, the treatment of sources, the journalistic output, media professionals’ interaction with their audience and peers and the news selection process. Summarising them as “ journalists’ behaviour” is useful in terms of “studyability.” On the downside, the question ignores the different notions each respondent and each analyst might assign to the term. Moreover, it is daring to single out a unique line of correlation between the instrument and journalists’ behaviour. To circumvent both obstacles, the multi-layered notion of a single variable as well as the intricacy of their causal relations, I set the starting point of analysis at a step prior to the actual behaviour: the moment of reflection. Before behaviour is set in action, and maybe departs from previous behavioural patterns, the media professional reflects on the self, the other, the context, their relationships, values and experiences. Including such an inside perspective is valid because it adds to the range of journalism studies that mostly examine journalism from the outside (Mason 2014, p. 158). Reflection is a process everybody undertakes in some form or another in everyday life. Also, media scholars regularly employ the term because journalism is one of the professions in which reflection is paramount (Kronstad 2015, p. 11). It may be assumed that this common understanding supersedes a clear definition, but the opposite is the case. In the scholarly application of reflection, disciplinary boundaries become blurred. A literature review on reflection reveals several definitions of the term with a variety of similar as well as dissimilar characteristics (Fook et al. 2006). Reflection as “a project of the ‘self ’” (Gloud 2015, p. 84) is thinking about thinking and acting with an openness to alteration. It must incorporate an understanding of individual experience and in its critical form it additionally relates to the environment. Stein summarises key aspects of the numerous definitions as follows: Reflection is the process by which adults identify the assumptions governing their actions, locate the historical and cultural origins of the assumptions, question the meaning of the assumptions and develop alternative ways of acting. (…) Part of [a] critical reflective process is to challenge the prevailing social, political, cultural or professional ways of acting. (Stein 2000, p. 3)


Caroline Lindekamp

Ahva transfers the concept to journalism and defines reflection as journalists’ capacity for self-awareness; their ability to recognize influences and changes in their environment, alter the course of their actions and renegotiate their professional self-image as a result. (…) The ability for any reform movement to make an impact is linked to its ability to encourage professional [reflection]. (Ahva 2012, pp. 792, 802) Ahva is among the few scholars who have applied reflection in journalism studies. The concept has been developed in the philosophy of consciousness and as a “resurrection of Socratic dialogue” (Fook et al. 2006, p. 16) transferred from its sphere of origin to social theory. Contemporary literature mostly evolves from the work of Dewey (1916) and Schön (1983, 1987). The term is advocated in many areas of professional practice (Mezirow 1990; Brookfield 2015;White et al. 2006). However, in journalism studies, it “is not well defined and is often used as a synonym for evaluation, and as such part of an ethical discourse” (Ramaker et al. 2015, p. 347). Yet some publications indicate an increasing interest in the topic. The respective publications can be broadly distinguished in two groups:3 in the first group, the professional offspring is the focal point of research (Pearson 2000; Greenberg 2007; Bacon 2012; Kronstad and Eide 2015; Kronstad 2015). Contrary to explicit learning settings in journalism education, the studies in the other group develop frameworks to understand professional practice and social life of established journalists (Malik 2004; Ahva 2012; Mason 2014; González de Bustamante and Relly 2016; Ramaker et al. 2015). Reflection may be used “as a way to increase accountability to existing norms, but also as a way to question the ‘taken for granted’ which may be implicit in those norms” (Fook et al. 2006, p. 12). This applies to media accountability too. Glasser and Ettema (2008, p. 12) equate media accountability with the facility to argue articulately and reflectively about moral dilemmas. Bardoel and d’Haenens (2004a, 2004b) mention reflection as an instrument for professional accountability. As a response to ever greater pressure, the industry “is starting to look in on itself and engage in a dialogue about standards and responsibilities” (Niblock 2007, p. 20). Scholars make related assumptions for individual instruments: media criticism is only meaningful as self-regulation if it encourages “reflection about journalistic norms [in such a way that it has] clear influence on the practices and standards journalists consider acceptable” (Bunton 2000, p. 73). Painter and Hodges (2010, p. 262) adopt Bunton’s reasoning to explain why media criticism in popular satire shows is more effective than criticism generated by institutionalised accountability instruments. Kaute (2009) in her study on media-critical weblogs and Elsaka (2001) for the case of press councils and codes of ethics come to corresponding conclusions on the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of media accountability instruments.

The circular impact model  43

Consequently, instruments differ according to their effectiveness: when a media accountability process completes without reflection on the complaint’s subject, it is ineffective. This is irrespective of whether a response to the complaint has been filed or not. By contrast, a media accountability process is more effective when it results in reflection, even if no response is expressed externally. Only the latter consequence potentially contributes to professionalism.

The variables To deconstruct the process of media accountability with respect to reflection, Schön’s work (1983, 1987) is useful. With the aim of integrating theory and practice, he introduced the reflective practitioner as a concept to explain how professionals meet the challenges of their work life. He distinguishes two types of reflection: in reflection-in-action “doing and thinking are complementary. (…) [The professional] becomes a researcher in the practice context” (Schön 1983, p. 280, 68). Reflectionon-action is retrospective; the professional looks back upon a situation considering alternatives or approving their past behaviour. The combination of reflection-onaction and reflection-in-action results in a process of continuous learning. Schön suggests that reflection demands the role of a mentor (Ramage 2017, p. 1168); hence, it is not an individual experience but a social process. Such manifestations of interaction are implicit in all dimensions of accountability. Reflection takes place when unanticipated and non-routine problems occur; they destabilise assumptions that are taken for granted and embedded in routine practice (Schön 1983, p. 345). The assumptions equate with the “shared occupational ideology among news workers, which functions to self-legitimize their position in society” (Deuze 2005, p. 446). Professional norms and values are constitutive to the ideology. They underlie journalistic practice, but only if event-related do they become the subject of reflection. The phone hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World is one example of such an event, when public, policy-makers and stakeholders take the role of what Schön calls a “mentor.” Potentially, they call upon media professionals and organisations to account for their actions and trigger reflection-on-action. Anticipatorily, reflection-on-action has the potential to alter journalists’ reflection-in-action in subsequent problem solving. Situating the media accountability process in the doing rather than in the more formal theorisation determines the key variables: a media accountability instrument and a media professional. Arranging them determines the direction of dependency: the instrument is the independent, the professional the dependent variable.

The categories For further conceptualisation, I categorise forms of reflection. Such categorisations have been undertaken by other scholars ranging from two categories (Argyris and Schön 1978) to up to seven (King and Kitchener 1994). To guarantee

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applicability, the categorisation must be sufficiently detailed to grasp the diversity of possible media accountability effects; at the same time, the categories must remain clearly identifiable and differentiable. In this way, Kember et al. (2000) characterise four categories of reflection: habitual action, understanding, reflection and critical reflection. Habitual action: this category involves no reflection. The professional almost automatically follows patterns that they have formerly internalised. Routine practice, which is often based on tacit knowledge (Loenhoff 2015), falls into this category. In journalism, moral decision-making often takes place in this manner (Painter-Morland 2007, p. 515). Understanding: unlike “habitual action,” understanding is a cognitive process employing existing knowledge without any attempt to evaluate it. “Much of the ‘book learning’ which takes place in universities is best classified as thoughtful action” (Kember et al. 2000, p. 384). While tacit knowledge underlies habitual action, understanding (thoughtful action) requires awareness. Reflection: in addition to understanding, the professional tests the validity of acquainted knowledge by making a concrete experience the touchstone of reflection. To stay with the example of journalism ethics, in this form of reflection the journalist transfers theories they understood as “book learning” during their education to their work life. Referring to Schön (1983), this usually happens amidst problem solving. Critical reflection: extending reflection to critical reflection adds a political orientation to the concept. The professional links their individual experience to their social, structural and cultural contexts, which forces them to reframe the experience and in consequence unearth formerly held conventions. This form of reflection provides space for emancipatory discourse and action to take place. Figure 3.2 combines the variables and the categories in a framework for the exploration of the impact of media accountability.

The circular impact model (CIM) Placing media accountability in a variable-analytical approach proved useful in setting up frameworks for empirical research. The processes of implementation

FIGURE 3.2 Media

accountability instruments as the independent variable: the impact of media accountability

(Source:  the author).

The circular impact model  45

and the functioning of media accountability have been deconstructed in variables and their interrelations. As in Figure 3.3, media accountability is first the dependent, then the independent variable, they can be fused into one: the circular impact model. The circle as the graphic representation captures the “shapeshifting nature of media accountability” (Plaisance 2000, p. 257) and displays it as a reciprocal and infinite process. Referring to dependent and independent variables might seem to some as an imitation of natural sciences, an imitation that potentially turns scholars away from the task of explanation (Hallin and Mancini 2004, p. 4). However, the opposite is the case: studies applying the model would be largely exploratory and for them, a thorough description as the basis for analysis is imperative. For this reason, the categories deliberately do not refer to different levels of support for media accountability or of reflection, taking it to a somewhat more profound level. On the contrary, the categories refer to varying forms of interaction with media accountability and of reflection. A theoretical framework such as the circular impact model can help control subjectivity in research “by the self-conscious revisiting of the theory and the concomitant awareness that one is using a particular perspective” (Mertz and Anfara 2015, p. 232). However, promoting a framework as a window for looking at a phenomenon implies the existence of a wall that restricts the view. Media accountability is complex, including various actors and a plethora of possible outcomes. The circular impact model conceals aspects that are not represented by its variables and categories.

FIGURE 3.3  Combining

models about the impact on, and of, media accountability (MA): the circular impact model

(Source:  the author).


Caroline Lindekamp

Applying the circular impact model: the advantage of comparison For the sake of media freedom and pluralism, media regulation should not be centralised (Russ-Mohl 1994, p. 96). Instead, instilling quality into journalism happens through a bundle of initiatives and institutions, whose activities and intentions might contradict, overlap or correspond. In the debate on the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of media accountability, research has a strong normative dimension by backing or contradicting the decisions of media organisations, policy-makers and stakeholders concerning media regulation and self-regulation. As media freedom is on the decline around the world,4 there is a need “to put in place procedures (…) and levels of performance that ensure the highest standards of professionalism and levels of probity” (Tettey 2006, p. 245). The contradicting valuations of the role of media accountability challenge researchers to go beyond pure description. They must identify instruments, which cushion the pressure from institutional, political and economic forces that hinder the quest for democratic consolidation as well as responsible and ethical journalism. These demands on scholarship imply requirements for study frameworks as a basis for research: to investigate the actual role of media accountability in different political systems, comparative research is the key. Through comparison, researchers can obtain a benchmark at least as a clue to classification or even as a normative indicator (Donsbach 2010, p. 155). In the specific case of the circular impact model, this succeeds by the weighing of the impact on and the impact of media accountability in two or more national media systems. Such a crosscountry comparison helps to answer questions that cannot be answered in the context of single-country studies, especially when it comes to the interplay of the different levels in media systems (Figure 3.4). Journalism studies in general display a Euro-American focus that also dominates the field of media accountability research. Notwithstanding this geographical imbalance, media accountability can encourage a “struggle against non-democratic public policies that continue to frame the media landscape” (Naji 2014, p. 310) in many regions of the world. To expand the geographical focus, study frameworks must be applicable for media landscapes beyond the established democracies in western Europe and North America. In the circular impact model, the shifting importance of the levels in media systems increases the applicability. Employing concepts of reflection contributes to the same objective: potentially, media accountability practices are expressions of a pursuit of autonomy. In repressive environments, media might shield such efforts from external forces. Studying the impact of media accountability via reflection allows us to also detect these “hidden” consequences of media accountability.

The circular impact model  47

FIGURE 3.4  Comparing

media accountability (MA) cultures in the circular impact

model (Source:  the author).

Notes 1 As an early example, Rühl (1969) turned against the individualistic tradition in journalism research. Later Weischenberg (1990, 2002) introduced his so-called “onion” model to systematically capture the constituting features of a media system as contexts for journalism. Hanitzsch et al. (2010) developed a corresponding model with particular respect to the globalisation of journalism. 2 For the comparative journalists’ survey, the MediaAcT consortium questioned 1,762 journalists in 14 countries. For the specific question cited here, as response options the scholars suggest a scale from 1 (no impact at all) to 5 (very high impact). 3 This grouping only refers to publications that present reflection as a theoretical basis for empirical research contrary to research that accepts reflection as a requirement evaluating qualitative research. In the latter sense, reflection appears as an alternative to objectivist notions of reliability and validity by exposing the researcher as the main instrument of data collection and demanding transparency about the research process (D’Cruz and Jones 2004). 4 The popular indices for the freedom of the press stated that in 2017 media freedom around the world had fallen to the lowest level in the century. In the age of posttruth, propaganda and suppression, this concerns developments in non-democratic systems as well as in the established democracies.


Caroline Lindekamp

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Political and societal challenges

4 MEDIA ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE ERA OF FAKE NEWS Journalistic boundary work and its problems in Finland Heikki Heikkilä and Jari Väliverronen

Introduction In international comparisons on journalism and public communications, Finland is an apparent success story. In the annual press freedom index by Reporters Without Borders, Finland was ranked No. 1 in the world for eight consecutive years, from 2009 to 2016. The inaugural European Media Accountability Index saw Finland follow Norway in second place (Eberwein et al. 2018, p. 297). In addition, Finnish audiences seem approving of journalism’s performance: of citizens from all EU nations, Finns show the greatest trust in traditional media (European Commission 2016). Appearances may be deceptive, though. In March 2016, the Union of Journalists in Finland published a survey disclosing that 16% of its members had been harassed, threatened or physically abused. By gender, 8% of female and 6.5% of male respondents reported that their physical integrity had been violated ( Journalisti 17 March 2016). A central referent for the unsettling news was Jessikka Aro, a journalist who had become the object of a large, systematic discrediting campaign after running investigative news reports on pro-Russia trolling activities. The personal outcome of public attention proved to be ambiguous for her. She received an award of excellence in investigative journalism but chose to leave her job at the public broadcasting company YLE and become an independent author (The New York Times 30 May 2016). Aro’s case is an extreme but not isolated one. News organisations in general have witnessed a deterioration of their relationships with readers and viewers. In the autumn of 2015, the leading daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat announced it would temporarily shut down one of its online platforms for commentaries due to insults directed at staff writers and other contributors. Soon after that, many other legacy media publishers followed suit and restricted user commentary on

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news on their portals, especially in immigration-related topics. In this atmosphere, hostilities have sometimes travelled in the other direction. In October 2017, YLE’s weekly media criticism TV show Pressiklubi (The Press Club) caused controversy as its host responded to a Twitter user comment in a way that appeared to many as bizarre and excessive personal revenge. Such incidents threaten to harm the reputation of journalism and they have prompted strong responses from media professionals. In May 2016, more than 20 editors-in-chief representing major newspapers and television newscasts issued a public declaration of collegial support for their employees, and their disgust for hate speech. In their statement, the editors also called for a collective commitment to journalistic ethics. At the same time, however, newsrooms have become more insular. Rather than promoting accountability to their audiences through interaction and dialogue, news organisations often appear to work to make their staff more anonymous to their audiences. In this tense atmosphere, “a structural lagoon that separated producers and consumers of news” in the era of mass communication (Schlesinger 1992, p. 106) is making an odd comeback in the digital age. As a professional strategy, the insulation of newsrooms seems well suited to the immediate problem at hand, the harassment of journalists. At the same time, it stands against normative ideas about media accountability, which suggest that public trust in journalism requires that news media answer directly or indirectly to their society for the quality and/or consequences of publication (McQuail 2005, p. 207). Traditionally, disputes about the ethics and quality of journalism have been dealt with in the institutional settings of self-regulation – in press councils and in connection to press codes. In the course of digitalisation of the media, many news organisations have sought to improve their credibility by increasing their transparency (Deuze 2005). On the one hand, newsrooms have invested in disclosure transparency by explaining their news selection, decisions and processes. This may be attained, for instance, by publishing links to original material and sources used in the news report or by demonstrating the evolution of coverage by attaching time stamps to specific versions of the copy. On the other hand, news organisations have fostered participatory transparency by giving audience members a chance to monitor, check, criticise and even intervene in the journalistic process. This may be pursued by soliciting outside contributions to be used in the news, such as texts, images and videos created by users to be published side by side with contents produced by staff members (see Karlsson 2010; Domingo and Heikkilä 2012). Workable notions of the transparency norm have had an impact on online news organisations for many years, nevertheless, the diffusion of the so-called media accountability instruments (MAIs) and their efficacy has been detained by the uncertainty of the future of journalism (Heikkilä et al. 2014, p. 61). While previous doubts about investing more resources in MAIs were mainly economic, new concerns have emerged from the political volatility fuelled by the dissemination of hate speech and fake news. Against this backdrop, we can witness media organisations in Finland justifying their lack of enthusiasm for enhancing

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their transparency and responsiveness. Rather than taking that conclusion at face value, this chapter aims to problematise it by analysing the professional response of journalists to contemporary developments in the digital media environment. Two themes will be highlighted in the analysis: (1) the debate on fake news and (2) news organisations’ understanding of digital audiences. A key analytical concept used in the empirical study is journalistic boundary work (Gieryn 1999; Carlson 2016). The notion refers to professional selfreflexivity where journalists aim to define the field of valid news practices through distinctions between insiders and outsiders. Much of the professional response to previous disruptive moments in journalism has been defensive rather than self-critical (see Reese 1990; Robinson 2010).

Fake news and journalistic boundary work Our analysis aims to shed light on how journalists and news media in Finland have explained and responded to the fake news phenomenon. Despite this limited perspective, a brief definition of the term is required. “Fake news” is a catchy term, writes Tarlach McGonagle (2017, p. 204), Rapporteur of the Council of Europe’s committee of experts on protection of journalism and safety of journalists (MSI-JO). Indeed, the word was chosen as the Word of the Year in 2017 by two separate organisations: the Collins Dictionary and the American Dialect Society. One reason for the catchiness of the word is that the concept is fuzzy and may denote anything from playful hoaxes to belligerent propaganda (Tandoc et al. 2017). In political parlance, the concept of fake news has been used to deflect public attention from critical media reporting and to reinforce partisan lines. The loudest advocate for this strategy is obviously President Donald Trump who has launched repeated attacks against US legacy media outlets such as The New York Times and CNN during his presidency. Despite the high-profile cases of fake news in political communication, the origins of the phenomenon are usually traced back to the margins of society (Tandoc et al. 2017, p. 12). Institutional actors deploy the concept to tag small groups or individuals who set out to deceive and disrupt in the hope of political benefit or economic gain. Even when fake news is taken to be a product of the hybrid media environment, the emphasis is that fake news is developed at a distance from institutions and their organised practices – and often in the guise of anonymity. From this perspective, fake news marks a political disruption, as it interferes with institutional politics and the standard procedures of parliamentarian democracy. Journalism is also affected by these problems, as fake news intervenes with journalism’s privileged role as a mediator, analyst and watchdog of politics. Moreover, fake news is perceived to be particularly disruptive in news organisations, as it interrupts legacy media’s long-standing attempts to adapt to the digital age and come to terms with the network society (Paulussen 2016, p. 193). From a business viewpoint, fake news represents a threat to the economic

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viability of the news industry and the ways in which legacy media have tried to push forward their main values in digital journalism: immediacy, interactivity and participation (Usher 2014). Fake news, of course, is not the first phenomenon to cast a shadow over the authority of journalism. Previous instances have involved, for example, the meaning of objectivity in news (e.g. Donsbach and Klett 1993) or the problems resulting from pack journalism (e.g. Matusitz and Breen 2007). These debates have called for journalistic boundary work whose primary objective is to clarify and reiterate the distinction between those who are news professionals and those who are not. In previous cases, journalism researchers have identified a recurring narrative where journalists make efforts to define the appropriate practices while dispelling deviant or outsider action (Carlson 2016, p. 352). This interpretation fits in with the professional response to fake news in Finland, where journalists have located fake news almost exclusively outside of journalism and treated it as an external disruption to public discourse. The professional boundary work has focused on two media outlets: MV and Magneettimedia. The former (the Finnish-language two-letter equivalent to the English expression of disbelief, WTF?) is an online media outlet whose output features four main themes: crimes committed by immigrants, the alleged corruption of police, the “inherent evilness of Islam” and guns. MV draws most of its output from mainstream news organisations and press releases from the police, usually without proper attribution of the source. While it borrows journalism’s authority by imitating journalism’s style of presentation, MV tends to pay no respect to the right of privacy of perpetrators of crime and their victims. It has also gained notoriety by obtaining photos from private Facebook accounts and publishing them in misleading contexts. Magneettimedia (Magnet Media) first operated as a free retail chain newspaper and then transformed into an online media outlet. Unlike MV, Magneettimedia’s focus is not on news dissemination but on publishing lengthy articles about alternative medicine, anti-Semitism and Euroscepticism. The publishers of both media outlets have been sentenced in court, and legacy media organisations have worked in many ways to counter these publications. Journalists took a serious note of fake news in the early spring of 2015, after MV briefly became one of the most visited websites in Finland (Kaleva 28 March 2015, see TNS Gallup 2015). The (fake) news prompted journalists into action: critical reports in legacy media quickly noted that MV violated almost all good practices in journalism – whether they pertained to copyrights, ethical guidelines or simply the craft of copy-editing. Because of public criticism, the two biggest publishers in the country, Sanoma and Otavamedia, initiated judicial proceedings against the site ( Journalisti 13 August 2015), which subsequently led to criminal sentences in court. The co-operation between the publishers of MV and Magneettimedia was also made known, as were the connections of Magneettimedia’s publisher to neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic networks (Helsingin Sanomat 22 October 2017).

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Since its brief peak in popularity, MV has, to a significant extent, lost its prominence. The site has been shut down on a few occasions and its publisher has changed (Helsingin Sanomat 18 February 2018). Magneettimedia, too, has moved towards the margin and turned into even more of a fringe, far-right website. New figureheads for the fake news phenomenon have not emerged. It seems that the actors responsible for disseminating fringe political ideologies no longer have the resources – or political will – to imitate journalism. Instead, these activities have moved to social media platforms and discussion boards. Despite their waning status, MV and Magneettimedia have not lost their position as the public enemies of institutional journalism in Finland. In public discourse, notions such as fake news, hate speech or post-truth politics are rarely discussed without explicit or implicit references to these two alternative media outlets. MV is also a rhetorical benchmark for journalistic boundary work. One of the many public accounts highlighting this was spelt out by Elina Grundström, the chairperson of the Council of Mass Media (CMM). In her blog, Grundström (2016) called fake news sites “pathological liars” as opposed to professional journalists, “who demonstrate respect for the ethical code in all their work,” although the empirical evidence of the argument remains only partial. While it seems valid to argue that professional journalists abide by the ethical guidelines, there is no proof that all of them do it all the time.

Boundary work with audiences Journalistic boundary work is not only about professionals marking their territory vis-à-vis bogus actors. Given that journalism’s cultural authority depends on its assumed services to the audience or the public (Carey 1987, p. 4), boundary work extends to assumptions about different types of audiences. It is clearly a speculative endeavour because “the audience” is elusive and ultimately an amorphous social formation that cannot be fully known (Ang 1991, p. 3). As a reaction to this uncertainty, newsrooms have created a culture whereby audiences are imagined through default readers and viewers. The starting point in the rationalisation of audiences is that the outcome needs to be adapted to the normative, organisational and economic rationales of the media outlet (Napoli 2011). Over the years, several images of default recipients have been coined in the audience rationalisation processes. These range, for instance, from the “Bus driver’s wife from Sheffield” imagined at the BBC in the 1970s (Schlesinger 1992, p. 125) to “Birthe the head nurse” and “Rene the bank clerk” created by Danish Radio (DR) in the early 2000s (Hjarvard 2009). Journalists are still compelled to imagine the kinds of people that constitute their audiences. In the case of fake news, they are particularly interested in knowing who the potential readers and viewers are that might abandon professional journalism and be tempted to consume fake news. The most obvious estimator for this question is voting preference. A recent survey commissioned by the Finnish Media Federation found that respondents who would vote for the populist Finns

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Party have a more positive attitude than others towards MV and other alternative news websites (Finnmedia 2017). This finding is quite plausible and presumably reassuring for journalists, as it lends further support to their boundary work where fake news is considered a fringe phenomenon. In years 2016–2018, support for the Finns Party ranged from 7 to 10% of the popular vote, which is about 3 to 5% of the population. Such figures present little risk for mainstream journalism, which is wary of losing its audiences following increased media competition. However, attempts to understand fake news by measuring news audiences by their voting preferences are superficial at best and misleading at worst. A Reuters Institute study examining popular understandings of fake news in the United Kingdom, the United States and Finland suggests that people conceive fake news as a combination of actors and factors. In their view, there are “some news media who publish it, some politicians who contribute to it, and some platforms that help distribute it” (Nielsen and Graves 2017). Rather than seeing fake news as a distinct and external category, audiences tend to separate fake news from other forms of news primarily by degree. Thus, fake news denotes many forms of “poor journalism,” which result from sensationalised or unreliable reporting and misleading contextualisation. Other audience studies have revealed that users’ misgivings about the quality of news are not a new phenomenon. Nor is this tendency found only, or predominantly, among those who vote for populist political parties. Focus group studies conducted in the United Kingdom (Coleman et al. 2012) and Finland (Ahva et al. 2011; Heikkilä et al. 2012) highlighted that a critical decoding of news by untangling its seemingly neutral and unbiased narration is instrumental in forging a public connection to issues discussed in media and politics. Study participants gave responses indicating that, based on this decoding, they frequently – and sometimes rather viciously – questioned journalism for “missing the point,” “diverting into trivialities” or “failing to be accurate.” Nonetheless, this critical attitude did not make participants forsake journalism. A logical explanation for this is that, despite its shortcomings, professionally produced news provides a necessary means for being informed. Given that respondents emphasised the importance of credibility and relevance of news, it seems unlikely that they would seek and find these qualities from alternative news outlets. There may not be an overarching understanding about news audiences in the hybrid media environment. Nonetheless, recent audience studies indicate that citizens still connect to mainstream news media even if they consume many other forms of media as well (Swart et al. 2017). Given that media diets are highly versatile, many people may also check fake news websites. It is probable that the abundance of information sources available does not distract users from institutional news sources; in fact, it may upgrade their expectations of journalism. In the Netherlands, audience members demand that the news media not only cover topics on the institutional political agenda but that they are expected to address issues that are prevalent in people’s interpersonal discussions in social media and offline environments (Swart et al. 2017). An audience study in Germany found

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that, once people get to know more about the digital environment, they are more open to experiments in journalism than professional journalists are (Schmidt and Loosen 2015, p. 275). These findings suggest that journalistic boundary work is not well informed about academic audience research.

Broader view on fake news A broader understanding of fake news is formed among policy analysts and academic researchers, who have incorporated the term into a wider framework of mis- or disinformation. Such analyses follow audiences’ views by noting that the fake news problem is not fully external to journalism. For instance, the non-profit association EAVI (2017) has identified ten types of misleading news. Most of them are produced by news organisations and other actors alike. Wardle (2017), in turn, has conceived seven types of fake news, four of which originate outside of journalism, while the other three may be produced both inside and outside of news organisations. These pertain to “false connection,” where headlines, visuals or captions do not support the content; “false context,” where genuine content is placed in an incorrect context, and “misleading content,” where information is used tendentiously. Instead of embracing a broader understanding of fake news and their own involvement in the phenomenon, journalists in Finland have focused on smaller things. In their quest for higher public trust, legacy media outlets have focused on error management, where news organisations try to deal with minor mistakes: misspelling, wrong names and dates, and so on. In 2014, an amendment to the journalistic code of ethics – the Guidelines of Journalists – was ratified, which decreed that “all errors published either offline or online be clearly corrected on the same platform where they were originally published” (Väliverronen and Heikkilä 2018, p. 77). Since then, the correction policy has been quite systematically adopted by most news organisations. Such collective action has earned praise from practitioners, who have used the policy as another boundary work tool against fake news websites. In reference to advancements in error management, the CMM’s Elina Grundström (2016) stated that “real and genuine journalism is not flawless but it is self-reparatory. (…) [And] traditional media that have committed themselves to the ethical code are better than their reputation would have you believe.” Journalists, however, do not always live up to their high ideals in practice. Correcting bigger issues such as “false context” and “misleading content” does not seem to occur too fluently, as noted by project-based fact-checking organisations Faktabaari (Fact Bar) and Huhumylly (Rumour Mill). Moreover, the independent journalist Markku Lehtola, who runs the blog Faktavahti (Guardian of Facts) to monitor error management in journalism, has reported numerous cases where news organisations have refused to correct factual errors even when notified. In addition, his subsequent attempts to complain to the CMM about breaches of the ethical code have been rejected several times.

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The policy and its practical execution fail to consider that much of the popular attention to fake news in Finland focuses on institutional journalism rather than on alternative news websites. The practice that elicits the loudest criticism in social media and in people’s interpersonal communication is “clickbait journalism,” which is widespread and used in many news genres. To give one example, one of the main headlines on the website of the regional daily Aamulehti read, “50 bosses to get the sack? Negotiations at Pihlajalinna [a private health care company] put many managers’ jobs at risk – this is the reason why” (Aamulehti 19 January 2018). The lengthy headline is misleading rather than informative, as the answer to the critical “why?” question will be revealed only to those users who agree to click on the full story link. Clickbait journalism assumes an implicit textual contract with the users that the key information legitimating the newsworthiness or relevance of the item is provided in the full news story. Quite often, the key information is not delivered at all or it does not correspond to the premise. Thus, it is hardly surprising that clickbait headlines are strongly criticised by news consumers. The most vigilant check on this practice in Finland is the site Klikinsäästäjä (Save Us from Clickbait). In its two and a half years of existence, the site has attracted over 200,000 followers on Facebook – more than the nation’s biggest daily Helsingin Sanomat. Despite the legitimacy of its argument, the site has received little attention in mainstream media. At the moment, there are no signs that news organisations would consider changes in their policies on clickbait headlines.Whether this choice is deliberate or not, it is a clear sign of unresponsiveness on the part of journalism.

Mistaken by algorithms Clickbait journalism is a product of strategic news policies, which are informed by the “culture of the click” (Anderson 2011, p. 555). The notion was coined about ten years ago in an ethnographic study in the USA. A few years later, the effects of the same culture are experienced in news organisations irrespective of their size. This collective frame of mind emanates from the introduction of digital tools for so-called metric analysis of audiences. This system enables news organisations to track users’ behaviour on their websites. Granted with access to server logfile data, newsrooms can access a wealth of quantitative information about their users – for instance, how many clicks (or page impressions) each news item elicits, how long the anonymous user spends reading it and which news pieces s/he chooses to share with others. Metric analysis connects to the broader development in computing known as big data analytics. It renders possible the collection and analysis of vast troves of digital data of any kind. These opportunities are harnessed by a large group of prominent and powerful actors within the Internet industry, advertising and public institutions. Even if newsrooms are in comparison minor players, big data’s implications for journalism are deep (Lewis and Westlund 2015). Metric analysis on the Internet is important to our discussion about transparency and journalistic boundary work in two ways. First, the metric analysis of

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news consumers in the digital environment is transparent in one direction only. It enables news institutions to observe their recipients without allowing them to explain their behaviour, nor to influence how the collected information is processed, profiled or even resold to third parties by the monitoring institution (Couldry and Turow 2014). In this framework, the relationship between news organisations and audiences is not that different from the one conceived between intelligence agencies and people targeted by digital surveillance. In other fields of study, the ethics of surveillance – and particularly the role of technology in upgrading the scope and precision of surveillance, as well as the growing reliance on these tools – is heavily debated. For some reason, journalism’s involvement in digital surveillance through metric analysis is rarely addressed. A few studies in journalism research and media studies notwithstanding (Anderson 2011; Napoli 2011), journalism’s attitude towards metric analysis is widely positive, if not fascinated. Algorithmic audience analysis poses another problem for journalism by creating new theories of the audience. To news professionals, who have been disappointed by previous methodologies used in detecting audiences (rating analyses, surveys, focus group discussions, and so on), metric analysis may seem like a paradigm shift. However, when compared with other – mainly academic – empirical audience studies, tracking technologies seem to lend support to crude rationalisations of audiences. Rather than shedding light on the multiple contexts in which people read news and discuss it in their social networks, metric analyses tend to resurrect old images of masses and herds whose capacities to self-organisation seem minimal or insignificant. This assumption has been challenged by other types of audience studies (see Swart et al. 2017; McCollough et al. 2017). Finally, metric analysis tends to build a sender-recipient relationship based on distance. Readers and viewers are being observed through anonymous metadata, which is purged from the fabric of everyday life that surrounds and shapes news consumption. This means that a great deal of information about what people think of news, how they experience news and how they discuss it with other people usually remains out of the reach of analytical tools. One plausible effect of this may be estrangement. With metric analysis data, journalists know less about their audiences than they think they do. In this situation, users, viewers and readers – and the world they live in – appear unpredictable and potentially unfriendly. Under these circumstances, the professional insulation, which was created as a temporary solution to the political disruption caused by fake news and hate speech, may become more permanent.

Conclusion Journalistic boundary work echoes traditional ideas of professionalism where powerful external actors and audiences are kept at arm’s length (see Singer 2008). Such demarcation is also in keeping with the traditions of the Democratic Corporatist media system, which have given Finnish journalism ample freedom

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from external actors in exchange for responsible conduct (Hallin and Mancini 2004; Syvertsen et al. 2014). Historically, this has been a successful strategy. In the current disruptive atmosphere, where some journalists receive threats and hate mails and where institutional news must compete with disinformation and fabrications packaged in news-like formats, insular professionalism appears to be a rational choice. However, this strategy poses problems. It may reduce journalists’ commitment to the norms of transparency and responsiveness, and delay – or even stop – media organisations’ interests in developing MAIs. Given that public trust in journalism seems relatively high in Finland and many other Democratic Corporatist countries, this risk may not seem acute. However, the historical traditions do not explain that journalists’ analysis on the contemporary developments in the digital environment is too narrow and self-serving. Contrary to what journalists assume in their professional discourse, news organisations should not see themselves as external to the current media environment riddled with disinformation, but rather as potential accomplices to the problem. While professional news organisations are not responsible for producing fake news and misinformation, many of their practices contribute to confusion. For instance, set against clickbait headlines, journalists may face criticism from audiences that echo the words of the Gospel of Luke (6: 41–42): “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Such views are not exclusive to Finland. In a recent survey conducted in 28 countries, most respondents noted that they were sceptical about news organisations’ motives and quality and felt that respected outlets were increasingly letting them down. Disengagement with the news was also common and more likely to happen in developed countries than in developing countries (Edelman 2018). These observations point to a larger accountability problem between journalism and its audiences. They indicate a growing need for journalism to rethink its own MAIs – or at the very least, the way in which they are currently used. In this question, differences seem to emerge between different media systems. In the Liberal model (Hallin and Mancini 2004, pp. 198–248), calls for improvement have mainly been directed at strengthening the institutions. In the USA, authors such as Pickard (2017) have advocated for stronger public service media while in the UK, Jempson et al. (2018) have argued for a more comprehensive self-regulatory system. In Finland, a key task is to reconsider the reliance on self-regulation through a national code of ethics monitored by the CMM. In the current media environment, resorting to this system clearly seems like an inadequate measure – especially given the CMM’s ever-increasing workload and growing concerns about its resources (Väliverronen and Heikkilä 2018, p. 78). In addition to the top-down approach, media outlets need to assume greater responsibility for their accountability to the audiences. One solution could be a mixed model where individual outlets supplement institutional MAIs by enacting and communicating the CMM’s guidance with their own MAIs in their day-to-day activity.

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In theory, there is great willingness among journalists to increase their accountability and transparency: in Finland, the support for different MAIs is particularly high in a European comparison (Mazzoleni and Splendore 2014). However, in practice, newsrooms are harnessing digital tools for metric analysis that endorse transparency in one direction only. These tools shed light on users but ultimately leave news organisations in the dark. This pattern is well suited for the objectives of security firms and intelligence agencies, but it is incompatible with normative accounts of how journalism is supposed to serve the public. This contradiction is largely unresolved, and a proper public debate on the ethics of metric analysis and its implications for media accountability has hardly started. A plausible explanation for the lack of critical debate is obviously the contemporary turmoil in political communication and media. Finnish journalists have used it as a way of justifying their inaction for some time (Heikkilä 2011) but they assume they can come back to the debate once they have dealt with more pressing problems such as fake news, hate speech, filter bubbles and the economic uncertainties of the news business. The problem with that proposition in the current media environment is that a better time for the debate may never arrive; proactivity is required to tackle the situation. In this vein, the public service media YLE recently established the position of Head of Audience Dialogue to increase the company’s transparency and responsiveness. Whether this action is more of a PR exercise than a genuine attempt to introduce new MAIs for better transparency is still open to question. Nonetheless, it indicates the need for journalism to question the conventional wisdoms of media accountability. Such an attitude will be increasingly required in the current media environment, not just in Finland, but also elsewhere. Observing this situation from a different context and position, the editor-in-chief at The Guardian, Katharine Viner (2017), argues that news organisations need to make bold decisions, which may run counter to the dominant political analysis of the time. In her mission paper, Viner goes on record by stating that, during its history, The Guardian has made such decisions many times. At some points, those decisions have nearly driven the newspaper into bankruptcy. For instance, after the paper had exposed that the British had established concentration camps in South Africa during the Second Boer War in 1899 and 1902, “the paper lost advertisers and one-seventh of its sales. One rival paper, confident that The Guardian was on the verge of collapse, sent a brass band to stand outside our offices in Cross Street, Manchester to play Handel’s mournful Dead March from Saul.” The current challenges of journalism are neither nearly as grave as in times of war nor are the bold decisions that news organisations are due to make as explicitly political as they were in Viner’s story. Their difficulty stems from the notion that journalists may have to be selective of their own traditions, whatever they may be. On the one hand, they should reassess their traditional values and ethics, and how this would help them to sustain or restore public trust in what journalists do. On the other hand, they may have to acknowledge the limits of journalistic boundary work and admit that their strategies could be severely incompatible with the contemporary media environment.

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References Ahva, L., et al., 2011. “Onpas fiksuja lukijoita!” Yleisön ja toimittajien kohtaaminen journalismikritiikin kolmella tasolla. Media & Viestintä, 34 (4), 8–25. Anderson, C. W., 2011. Between creative and quantified audiences. Web metrics and changing patterns of newswork in local US newsrooms. Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, 12 (5), 550–566. Ang, I., 1991. Desperately Seeking the Audience. London: Routledge. Carey, J., 1987. The press and public discourse. The Center Magazine, 20 (2), 4–16. Carlson, M., 2016. Metajournalistic discourse and the meanings of journalism. Definitional control, boundary work, and legitimation. Communication Theory, 26 (4), 349–368. Coleman, S., Morrison, D. E., and Anthony, S., 2012. A constructivist study of trust in the news. Journalism Studies, 13 (1), 37–53. Couldry, N., and Turow, J., 2014. Advertising, big data, and the clearance of the public realm. Marketers’ new approaches to the content subsidy. International Journal of Communication, 8, 1710–1726. Deuze, M., 2005. What is journalism? Professional identity and ideology of journalists reconsidered. Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, 6 (4), 442–464. Domingo, D., and Heikkilä, H., 2012. Media accountability practices in online news media. In: E. Siapera and A. Veglis, eds. The Handbook of Global Online Journalism. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 272–289. Donsbach, W., and Klett, B., 1993. Subjective objectivity. How journalists in four countries define a key term of their profession. International Communication Gazette, 51 (1), 53–83. EAVI, 2017. Infographic: Beyond fake news − 10 types of misleading news. Available from: Eberwein, T., et al., 2018. Summary: Measuring media accountability in Europe – and beyond. In: T. Eberwein, S. Fengler and M. Karmasin, eds. The European Handbook of Media Accountability. London and New York: Routledge, 285–300. Edelman, 2018. Edelman trust barometer: Global report. Available from: http://cms. iles/2018-02/2018_ Edelman_Trust_ Barometer_ Global_Report_FEB.pdf European Commission, 2016. Special Eurobarometer 452: Media Pluralism and Democracy. Available from: ResultDoc/download/DocumentKy/75538 Finnmedia, 2017. Valeuutistutkimus 2017. Available from: files/4323/Valeuutistutkimus_14.11.2017.pdf Gieryn, T., 1999. Cultural Boundaries of Science. Credibility on the Line. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Grundström, E., 2016. Fiksu myöntää virheensä., 8 February. Available from: Hallin, D. C., and Mancini, P., 2004. Comparing Media Systems. Three Models of Media and Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Heikkilä, H., 2011. Leaving it up to Professionals (and the Market). Development of Online Media Accountability Practices in Finland. MediaAcT Working Paper 2/2011. Available from: Paper_Finland.pdf Heikkilä, H., et al., 2012. Kelluva kiinnostavuus: Journalismin merkitys ihmisten sosiaalisissa verkostoissa. Tampere: Vastapaino.

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Introduction Trust in most1 of the mainstream media in Sweden has been stable for some considerable time, and on the upper half of a European scale (Eurobarometer Interactive 2000–2015). Trust is now declining but not as much as in many other EU states. However, in one respect the trust in Swedish media is particularly low, according to polls, and that is media reporting on immigration issues. This situation has been detectable in surveys since 2011 and somewhat discussed, but events in 2015 and 2016 made the polarisation of attitudes towards immigration reporting very visible and a topic for intense national debate. This chapter aims to analyse media accountability initiatives and the kinds of instruments used by media and nonmedia actors when responding to the display of increased distrust in the media. In 2011, the Directorate General for Home Affairs commissioned a special Eurobarometer survey that included a question about immigration facts: “Would you say that discussion about immigration in the EU is based on facts and reliable data?” (Eurobarometer 2012). The average percentages for the member states were 40% “no” and 34% “yes,” with 26% answering “don’t know.” In Sweden, the respondents were more negative: 59% answered “no” and 26% “yes.” In 2013, the Swedish national SOM survey (Science, Opinion, Media, SOM Institute, University of Gothenburg) included a statement about immigration reporting – “Swedish media do not report the truth about societal problems connected to immigration” – and 52% of the respondents agreed with this (Sandberg and Demker 2014). The attitudes were clearly connected to political views, from 32% of Green Party sympathisers to 92% of populist Swedish Democrats supporters. These two surveys, the Eurobarometer 2011 and the SOM survey 2013, did not lead to much general debate. In 2015, the refugee crisis influenced the national agenda in many ways, and after accusations in 2016 that Swedish media had underreported two instances

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in 2015 of alleged sexual harassments performed by young immigrant males, the debate went viral in social and mainstream media. Fuel on the fire was provided by two retired leading conservative politicians, former members of the government, who stated that mainstream media certainly do hide important migration facts from the public (af Kleen 2016). They also confessed to visiting the website Avpixlat for further information about migration issues. Populist and nationalist websites – like Avpixlat – hostile to immigration, took advantage of the events and increased their communication and public relations activities. At this stage, media and non-media actors intensified their efforts to respond to the accusations of a media cover-up addressing issues of trust in the media. This is the object of our study.

Trust, accountability and the media Trust is important for understanding human behaviour, politics and the media (Tsfati and Cappella 2003), but it is only in recent decades that it has surfaced as a major concept in media and communication research. Earlier research in communication focused on the credibility of the sources (Porlezza and RussMohl 2013; Elliot 1997). Hovland’s research (Hovland et al. 1953) suggested that credibility had two basic dimensions – expertness and trustworthiness – and this model had a huge impact on later research on both credibility and trust (Kohring and Matthes 2007, p. 4). As Barnhurst observes, truth and skill are often defined as two general dimensions of trust (2013, p. 212), and they mirror the access of the professionals to true information and knowledge and the trust we put in the skills of the professionals in delivering true information and knowledge. Trust in the media and in journalism then implies a factual aspect, pertaining to the use and presentation of facts and their truth value, and that we can assess that information is communicated with accuracy (Porlezza and Russ-Mohl 2013). It also implies that we can trust the intentions and motivation of the media – that we can be sure that they are not trying to deceive or manipulate us. Beyond that, this chapter will explore a third aspect of trust that deals with the power relation between the media and the receivers or users. Coleman et al. consider that distrust occurs “when the news fails to address the world as the public recognize it, leaving them feeling like outsiders” (2009, p. 2). In effect, the exclusion from being addressed could be seen as a power aspect, having relevance for the user’s assessment of trust in the media. These aspects of media trust – the factual, the motivational and the power relation – will be used when different media accountability instruments are analysed. Inspiration for the analysis has also been found in studies of climate change communication strategies that involve rhetorical principles for overcoming the resentments of “reasonably distrustful audiences” (Goodwin and Dahlstrom 2014, p. 155). Issues of media trust are central factors in the controversy over migration reporting, but how do the factual, motivational and power-relation aspects surface in the responses of the different actors? The responses and actions that followed the publication of the interview with the former cabinet members are

Media accountability instruments 


studied here as different kinds of media accountability instruments (Bertrand 2000, 2003; Fengler et al. 2014). These can be internal (within the media, for instance, media journalism), external (for instance, media research) or co-operative (between media organisations and non-media actors, for instance, staging media debates together). The instruments are also connected to four accountability frames: the market, professional, public and political (McQuail 2003; Bardoel and d’Haenens 2004). The aim of this study is, first, to investigate how media accountability instruments were used as responses in this situation of increased media distrust and, second, how the instruments being studied actualised and addressed specific aspects of media trust.

Method We searched for media material related to media cover-ups and media reporting on migration in Mediearkivet (Retriever 2016), a media database that collects fulllength articles and press releases in print (PDF) and online. The search started the day before the two conservative ex-politicians accused legacy media of a coverup (20 March 2016) and the last day was four months later (20 July 2016). This period was chosen because of the specific relevance of the publication in Dagens Nyheter, where the two former politicians’ views were expressed. We constructed a timeline of articles, events, conferences, polls, reports and other projects related to the cover-up theme. From the timeline, we picked eight different initiatives – different regarding initiators, dates and media accountability frames. These were chosen to illustrate different forms of actions and reactions to the allegation of a cover-up. The initiatives chosen for the analysis were the following: 1. media reactions within the first week that referred to media research; 2. a public opinion poll eleven days after 20 March 2016 regarding trust for mainstream media versus Avpixlat, a spokessite for accusers of a media cover-up; 3. a local media initiative in April 2016; 4. a local media initiative in May 2016; 5. a conference on 23 April 2016, arranged by Migrationsverket (MIG, the government agency handling migration matters), to facilitate contacts between journalists and asylum seekers; 6. a series of articles in Dagens Nyheter, reporting on a top scientist’s views on the economic effects of migration; 7. a new research report regarding media and migration, published 30 May 2016 by a private research foundation; 8. open seminars about media and migration in Almedalen on the island of Gotland during the so-called “political week” 3–10 July 2016, where political parties, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), corporations, lobbyists, citizens and journalists debated current topics.

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The timeline does not include all relevant initiatives, just the ones identified in the preliminary research. It was constructed from searches in a database that primarily carry mainstream media content. Our study focuses on how these media act and react to the allegations of a cover-up in the area of migration and integration. We are aware that there is material on the Internet that has relevance for the wider discussion of this issue – for example on blogs, microblogs, social media platforms and discussion forums. The eight chosen initiatives were studied regarding their relations to media trust and media accountability. These cases are not analysed in in-depth studies; instead, we aimed to present an overall picture of distinguishing features. We have done a qualitative, not a quantitative analysis of the eight initiatives.The initiatives were categorised by us regarding media accountability frame origins, process alliances and targets as well as the media trust aspects of facts, motivations and power relations.

Results We present the cases one by one.

Article in Journalisten (Nesser 2016a): initial media reaction directed towards media research Many newsrooms reacted to the news in Dagens Nyheter (DN) that a former leader of the Conservative Party, Ulf Adelsohn, and his wife, former Secretary of Culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, both stated that legacy media deliberately cover up facts about immigration (af Kleen 2016). This is why they found that an “alternative” site such as Avpixlat deserves attention, as it tells it more like it is. News organisations immediately commented on the accusations. On their editorial pages and in general news comments, they denied suppressing any information. A more thorough follow-up for newsrooms was to check if media researchers had looked into this allegation of suppression, and since one of the media’s most frequently used media researchers, a well-known professor, was quoted in the article, quite a few newsrooms contacted him for further information. One example is the trade magazine Journalisten: two days after the original publication it published a 1,600-word interview with the well-known professor (Nesser 2016a). The media scholar discussed research on news evaluation, ethics and journalists’ political sympathies and declared that no research supports the view that the media “systematically and for political reasons” engage in coverups. The article does not contain references to actual research by the professor, nor to the central work done on migration reporting (Hultén 2006) or to a study problematising media coverage of Sverigedemokraterna (Häger 2012). Media accountability instrument: journalism, produced within a professional frame and directed towards the public, stressing the importance of journalism for citizens. The article contains criticism of how news evaluation is performed. A cover-up for political reasons is rejected.

Media accountability instruments 


Media trust: one theme is that those who distrust the mainstream media probably do not know how journalism is performed and that this causes frustration and anger. They need more knowledge about journalism and here that is provided by the journalism researcher. Another theme is that there are many reasons for distrusting so-called alternative media such as Avpixlat. They follow a political agenda and do not adhere to established codes of ethics. The motives of the media and the truth about what is published are contested.

Public opinion poll on media trust, commissioned by DN DN is the leading daily quality newspaper in Sweden. It was DN that published the interview with the ex-ministers who denounced the Swedish mainstream media for being involved in a cover-up of migration consequences. That interview was part of a much longer story about growing populist and right-wing attitudes within one of the most conservative districts in Stockholm – a story that took two months to research and write. One theme in the interview touched media trust. Since the mainstream media, DN for instance, were thought to cover up negative aspects of migration, the ex-ministers looked to the populist and nationalist Avpixlat for further information about incidents involving migrants. DN commissioned a poll about public media trust as a follow-up to the article: how many recipients trust DN, public service media and Avpixlat? People all over Sweden (1,002 in total) were interviewed by a polling company; the interviews started three days before the article was published. The results were published in DN twelve days after the article and showed that 50% answered that they felt high, or quite high, trust in DN, 75% felt the same about the public service media and 4% for Avpixlat (Rosén 2016). One of the leading editors wrote a column in connection with the presentation titled “Devastating numbers for alternative ‘truth-tellers’” (Jönsson 2016). The editor stated that it was impossible to find support for “a huge popular distrust in these media companies or a sentiment of a conscious cover-up” (ibid.). Representatives of media associations for publishers, magazines and publicists and for other mainstream media organisations quoted the poll and applauded the results. However, within a few days the interpretation of the results was criticised by a political scientist (Kokkonen 2016). He argued that it is impossible to estimate attitudes towards migration coverage on the basis of a question regarding general media trust; distrust in migration reporting might coexist with trust in general reporting. This was indeed the case in 2013, when in another poll 60% stated their belief in media cover-ups regarding migration but still declared a high overall trust in the media (Sandberg and Demker 2014). Kokkonen suggested that if DN was really interested in finding out the popular view on migration reporting, it would serve research interests to ask that specific question next time. Media accountability instrument: measuring attitudes within the public frame, commissioned by an actor within the professional frame. The poll

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might be a way to strengthen DN criticism of Avpixlat. However, the way DN interpreted the numbers instead gave way for criticism of DN. Using a poll to strengthen your case is a well-known instrument for lobbyists and special interest groups. Here DN is an actor that controls its own arena. Media trust: the purpose of the poll was to show that allegations of widespread media distrust are false and to describe the levels of media trust, so the factual is the most salient aspect. If the poll had that effect, the following debate about the interpretation probably did not.

Local media initiatives Most of the debate over alleged media cover-ups takes place at a national level. Therefore, we picked two local examples. Example A: The editor of a local news organisation in the south of Sweden, Norra Skåne, commented on the allegations of a cover-up. She rejected the allegations, argued that they were caused by lack of knowledge and referred to the earlier mentioned article in Journalisten (Nesser 2016a) for proof. The solution suggested was more transparency. [W]e have an incredibly important task ahead of us. Historically, we have been rather deficient in explaining what we do, the role of a responsible publisher, and the ethical principles that we adhere to. This must change. (Karlsson-Bernfalk 2016a) Two weeks later, the chairman of a local populist party attacked Norra Skåne and DN for defending cover-ups, asked for concrete references from the journalism professor interviewed in Journalisten, and recommended that the local editor practise “objective journalism” to find “real facts” about the refugees (Herslow 2016). The editor of Norra Skåne responded and referred to the earlier mentioned opinion poll in DN (Karlsson-Bernfalk 2016b). Example B: A local news organisation in the middle of Sweden, VLT, decided in early June to hire an asylum seeker, a journalist, as a columnist in order to widen the paper’s narrative on migration issues. The editor of VLT wrote in an introduction that “the perspective of someone who knows and feels what it really is like” is important (Nordström 2016). The columns have not created viral storms of protest. Some columns have been praised by defenders as well as critics of government migration policies (Polu 2016). Media accountability instrument: professional frame directed towards the public. Transparency is advocated both for media organisations and for the asylum process. The decision to publish columns written by a journalist who seeks asylum in Sweden can be viewed as a response to the criticism of migration reporting.

Media accountability instruments 


Media trust: Example A.The local politician argued that legacy media should not be trusted because of not sticking to the facts, while the local editor argued that this lack of trust was linked to lack of knowledge among critics. Example B. A reader implied in a comment that publishing columns from a refugee increases the public knowledge of hitherto hidden aspects of migration, which, in his opinion, might lead to a better debate. This initiative can be interpreted in terms of the power aspect of trust, where the inclusion of new voices connects media and citizens.

Migrationsverket Talks conference, 23 April 2016, in Stockholm Migrationsverket, the government agency handling migration matters, launched a series of seminars called MIG Talks in 2016, to deepen the understanding of migration motives and consequences. 250 journalists and media representatives were invited to a conference in Stockholm to discuss media coverage of migration, meet migrants and share their experiences (MIG Talks 2016). Two journalists representing the Swedish media showed up. The seminar changed focus to formulating five principles and seven basics “for a more human migration narrative” (Petition 2016). Media accountability instrument: political frame, initiated by a government agency, and directed at both a professional media frame and a public frame of citizens. The media part of the MIG Talks originated from the migrants’ experiences of being portrayed as labels and numbers, not as individuals. Migrationsverket had had its share of criticism regarding the asylum process, a criticism that grew during the autumn when the number of immigrants rose to unprecedented levels. The project included the possibility of broadening the migration discussion and placed it in a new context. Media trust: in this case the power aspect was most relevant, migrants addressing the media with a petition, rather than interacting with media representatives. The level of trust among the migrants involved probably did not increase, due to the lack of interest demonstrated by the invited media organisations.

A series of articles in DN, 25, 26 and 27 April 2016, labelled “After the escape” Two weeks after the accusations of a cover-up were published in DN, the editorin-chief announced a series that would illuminate “the whole complexity of the issue” of migration. A team of four reporters and photographers was sent to interview world-renowned researchers in the US and the UK. The interviews mainly dealt with economic effects and were given generous space in print and online for three days. Follow-up interviews with politicians and Swedish economic researchers took place. A critic condemned the predominantly economic reasoning. The responses to the series varied. A DN editor described it as a model for reader engagement online. Conservative and populist migration critics

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continued to criticise DN, “Dagens Nyheter retreats from former positions using a smokescreen.” Media accountability instrument: performed within the professional frame, directed at the public and political frames. The interviews were presented as information of great importance. Migration critics commented that DN was now paying more attention to negative facts and consequences than before. The critic called for insights into the human side of the migration process. Media trust: the information, building on academic legitimacy and facts, might be of great interest to many readers with a potential for increased trust. Convinced distrusters are more difficult to reach and some migration critics readily express conspiratorial beliefs, putting both the motivation and facts presented by DN in doubt.

Migration in the Media, a book with new research published by a private institute On 30 May 2016, a privately funded research institute published a book entitled Migration in the Media – If You’re Allowed to Talk About It? (Truedson 2016). The book was divided into two parts: personal essays on migration reporting and new research, for example on “migration critical alternative media” (Holt 2016a, 2016b). Most of the essays are soul-searching reflections on a sometimes guarded and cautious reporting.Two of the academic studies map the actors behind and the content on nine ‘alternative’ websites. The third study deals with the portrayal of such sites in mainstream media and the fourth with the degree to which editorial pages have described migration in positive, neutral or negative terms. The reception to the book varied. An editorial in Svenska Dagbladet (SvD), a conservative morning daily, welcomed research on media and migration but raised serious methodological objections regarding the academic study of editorials, where SvD came out as the most migration negative forum (Lifvendahl 2016). Avpixlat, connected to Sverigedemokraterna, reacted strongly against the book and threatened to sue the publisher for approaching Avpixlat under false pretences (Dagerlind 2016). An editorial in DN was self-critical and argued for active transparency from the media in this area (Helmerson 2016). The editorial writer concluded that the media must be open about what considerations they take into account in different kinds of coverage. “We shall do our utmost to avoid special considerations, and when we do we must explain why in an open and clear manner” (ibid.). Media accountability instrument: public frame, directed towards the public and the professional frames. Active transparency – being open about motives for special considerations on a case-by-case basis – is suggested. The book and the discussions display a variety of responses to media criticism. Media trust: one of the premises of the book is that allegations of cover-ups and of misleading reporting have led to lower trust in this reporting. In the

Media accountability instruments 


following discussions, questions of trust have included the publisher’s intentions and reasons for self-criticism within the media. Trust is here approached from the motivational aspect.

Public debates in Almedalen The “political week” in Almedalen on the island of Gotland in the summer has gradually become an institution in Swedish political life, with 4,000 seminars and 35,000 participants in 2016. All seminars are free of charge and open to the public. Debates on media issues have become more frequent year by year, and in July 2016 migration coverage was a popular common subject for debate. We have selected three of the debates for analysis. The first debate, organised by a magazine, was a so-called duel between a media researcher and a spokesperson for the nationalist and populist political party Sverigedemokraterna (SD). The site Avpixlat, that endorses the notion of media cover-ups, is affiliated to SD. The presumed antagonists soon agreed on some fundamentals (Dagens Samhälle 2016): (a) there was no conspiracy to cover-up, (b) the media performance regarding migration up to 2015 is better characterised as weak, narrow and dependent on political consensus in its news evaluation, which (c) negatively affected media trust. When the consensus disappeared in the wake of the rising numbers of asylum seekers, the media coverage became more vigorous and diverse. The second debate was organised by Reporters Without Borders. No one from Avpixlat or SD was on the panel, but sympathisers put questions to the media heavyweights present – questions that were dismissed or labelled as more or less racist by the top editors. The atmosphere was more polemic than reflective (Nesser 2016b). The third debate was based on the book referred to earlier, Migration in the Media. The panel, consisting of a media researcher, a journalist with roots in Iran and a local newspaper editor, was rather subtle in its evaluation of migration reporting. They considered that there was no cover-up but sometimes an anxious and awkward attitude towards reporting some migration aspects that might favour SD. Media accountability instrument: the Almedalen debates belong to the public frame but are directed towards both the political and the professional frames and thrive on making connections between them. The debates illustrate different patterns of response to criticism. The first had no editor on the panel, the second had top editors present but not an atmosphere of self-critical reflection, and the third had room for reflection but not any top editors. Media trust: two out of three panels acknowledged that media distrust could be linked, not to cover-ups but to lack of independent news evaluation. This makes a reality of the power aspect of trust – that the media is aligned to powerful political interests in a consensus.

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Discussion Accountability frames Among the selected cases, five of them can be placed in the professional frame, one in the political and two in the public frame; they were chosen to give examples of different kinds of actors and activities. It is important to note that the cases might engage a number of actors and connect the frames in different constellations. The professional and public frames seem to have many connections that are of specific importance. The political frame is also of some importance, though surprisingly weak considering the strong correlation between political persuasion and media mistrust regarding migration reporting. The market frame is not made explicit in any of the cases, which may reflect the overall decreasing impact of market arguments in relation to media trust.

The accountability process The cases studied show glimpses of the accountability processes at large, and how, in an issue like this, they can engage many actors and initiate activities. We also see how the process stretches over time and is extended with every step. Instead of clarification and consensus, the process gives opportunities for new waves of criticism, contestation of opinion polls and media research plus a continuing discussion at the public debates. Discussion of the framing of journalistic reporting and the interpretation of it from different perspectives was present in several of the cases. The disagreement over facts also continues, and maybe even over the value of facts as facts.

Trust In the trade magazine Journalisten, trust was addressed as knowledge about journalism, and the journalism professor interviewed advocated more transparency. The first example from the local media also made a connection between transparency and trust. However, does transparency really convince the critics? Transparency will only convince the critics if they accept the premises of the description and explanation. If they contest the premises, transparency will not work; instead, it might aggravate the tensions, which could be the case in this controversy. This is where the motivational aspect of trust becomes relevant, also inducing different interpretations of facts. Trust is the core issue of the opinion poll that DN commissioned and published. The responses to this response also activated criticism and distrust of the poll itself, which might have repercussions on DN, the pollster. The poll also showed how polarised trust is and how weak trust is in the so-called “alt right media.”The major idea of the poll was to add facts to the situation and to use those facts to sustain trust in mainstream media and denounce trust in “alt right media.” This is also visible in the book publication case. However, using research results to increase trust can be a double-edged sword if the results can be

Media accountability instruments 


questioned by other researchers, which was evident in some cases. This is also what seems to have happened in one of the public debates: solutions to problems are not found; instead, the polarisation widens. Other debates were more open, participants listened to each other and positions were negotiated. The migration conference seems to have been a complete failure in terms of developing trust. The aim of the MIG Talks campaign was to contribute to a nuanced and inclusive public discussion about migration. The migrants were included and given voice, but the media did not listen or enter into negotiation with the participants. Inclusion, to bring in a migrant columnist, was also the idea behind the local newspaper initiative. In this case, the media aimed to accomplish trust through inclusion and by giving voice to the migrant in person, but this will only work in a discourse that values such inclusion in a positive way. In the overarching migration debate this is not the case, as a large part of the tension and conflict about migration is about inclusion (and exclusion). In these cases, the power aspect of trust seems to be the most important. The suggested independent role of the media in reporting on migration, and adhering to a political consensus, is also an example of this trust aspect. More generally the cases show that the power relation, the motivational and the factual aspects were all relevant for the distrust of migration reporting expressed in these cases. In reverse, they are all relevant for building trust for mainstream media reporting on migration. This could be done by connecting better to critics and distrustful people, by being open and transparent about motives, and by using facts and framing of facts, especially research, in ways that support the media. The analysis of the instruments, using insight from rhetorical studies on how to communicate in situations where groups or audiences highly distrust the information given, suggests four methods for promoting trust (Goodwin and Dahlstrom 2014): 1. start small: concentrate initially on some central facts; take one step at a time. This suggestion is not very applicable in the cases we have studied; 2. take responsibility for being wrong: in our cases, this was often fulfilled in words more than in practice. Some exceptions were found in parts of the book and in comments about the book; 3. empower your audience: promote public participation in assessing the facts that are provided. There were some efforts in this direction in the cases. More often we found ambitions that were not fully achieved, for instance, to provide readers with information about media research; 4. make yourself vulnerable: show the audience that you commit yourself by vouching for the information given. It is paramount for the scientist to show that they would lose influence if the information they provide is incomplete or false. In our cases, we have found the beginnings of this method in the editorial page writer in DN, who leaves his comfort zone by professing selfcriticism and suggesting active transparency when special considerations are taken in reporting migration issues.

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Our first question dealt with responses and how media accountability instruments were used in this situation of increased media distrust. For the instruments used, the professional and public frames are of specific importance. The market frame was not made explicit in any of the cases, and neither was the political frame of visible significance, despite the underlying political polarisation of media trust. Responses through journalism vary from dismissal (coverup), nuancing (problems of migration reporting) to actioning change (including migrant voices). Public discussion shows the importance of who is on a panel and how its business is conducted. Our second question dealt with trust and how these media accountability instruments actualised and addressed specific aspects of media trust. We found that the internally initiated accountability instruments dealt directly (poll, debates and one local initiative) or indirectly (follow-up and the other local initiative) with trust. They cover all three aspects of trust – the factual, motivational and power relation. Their impact on trust could probably have been more significant, had they addressed these aspects of trust more thoughtfully. For example, an explicit question to the public about migration reporting would have been relevant considering the subject of the debate. The instruments that were initiated externally from the media (MIG Talks and the new book) were not primarily motivated by a wish to promote media trust. Had MIG Talks not failed, it could have contributed indirectly to media trust. The new book was the instrument that seems to have the biggest potential of them all. Here we found a willingness from a media representative to put his position at risk, to express self-criticism and argue for a new practice in migration reporting: if special considerations need to be taken, they shall be announced by active transparency. This behaviour is in line with recommendations from studies of climate change communication (Goodwin and Dahlstrom 2014).

Concluding remarks We have studied eight cases – eight initiatives undertaken in the context of serious criticism and distrust of mainstream media reporting on migration. We did not have the means to measure if these initiatives have affected the public’s trust for this reporting, but we have observed how they have actualised different aspects of trust being addressed in specific ways in the accountability process. This chapter is an exploration of how that took place in a Swedish case and media context, but other cases and contexts must, of course, be studied for more general conclusions to be drawn. We noticed how trust aspects are actualised in different ways in these diverse projects. That is to say that, had the issue of trust been addressed in other ways, the chances are that they would have been more successful. If, for instance, the debates in Almedalen had signified more profound meetings between media critics, media researchers and experienced media representatives, the outcome could have been more purposeful. Debates that are more communicative, and

Media accountability instruments 


where participants listen to and aim to understand each other, might be able to facilitate trust (Habermas 2008; Svensson 2015). This kind of debate will also open up new ways of being critical and making the critical position negotiable and varied (Svensson 2015). The analysis of the connection between accountability instruments and trust was carried out by tracking three aspects of trust – the factual, motivational and power relation. In the next stage of our work, the aspects of media trust will be studied further, and the analysis of the accountability initiatives will be carried out using more developed theories of media trust. The media trust models developed by Kohring and Matthes (2007) and Bentele and Nothhaft (2011) are relevant for such a closer analysis of dimensions and aspects of media trust and how they are connected to media accountability instruments. Media accountability is a continuing process of criticism, response, transparency and media adaption. Signs of a shift to more diverse migration reporting, mentioned for instance in the Almedalen debates, may be the most visible sign of new ways of addressing the issue of trust in migration reporting in the Swedish public discussion.

Note 1 In the past 20 years, public service radio and television as well as morning daily newspapers (including their online presence) have been measured to be trusted by some 50 to 80% of the population, whereas the percentages for tabloid evening papers (in print and online) and commercial television have been considerably lower: between 10% and 30%. However, one commercial channel (TV4) has experienced a loss of trust from 65% in 1998 to 29% in 2016 (Medieakademin 2016).

References af Kleen, B., 2016. Vreden på Östermalm [Fury over Östermalm]. Dagens Nyheter, 20 March. Available from: Bardoel, J., and d’Haenens, L., 2004. Media responsibility and accountability: New conceptualizations and practices. Communications: The European Journal of Communication Research, 29 (1), 5–25. Barnhurst, K. G., 2013. “Trust me, I’m an innovative journalist,” and other fictions. In: C. Peters and M. Broersma, eds. Rethinking Journalism. Trust and Participation in a Transformed News Landscape. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 210–220. Bentele, G., and Nothhaft, H., 2011. Trust and credibility as the basis of corporate social responsibility. In: J. Bartlett, S. K. May and Ø. Ihlen, eds. The Handbook of Communication and Corporate Social Responsibility. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 208–230. Bertrand, C.-J., 2000. Media Ethics and Accountability Systems. New Brunswick: Transaction. Bertrand, C.-J., 2003. An Arsenal for Democracy: Media Accountability Systems. Cresskill: Hampton. Coleman, S., Anthony, S., and Morrison, D. E., 2009. Public Trust in the News. A Constructivist Study of the Social Life of News. Oxford: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

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Dagens Samhälle, 2016. Lunchduellen: Hösten 2015 var en brytpunkt för medierna [Autumn 2015 was a breaking point for the media]. Dagens Samhälle, 6 June. Available from: Dagerlind, M., 2016. Institutet för mediestudier – Akademiska charlataner och exploatörer [The Institute for media studies – Charlatans and robber barons]. Avpixlat, 2 June. Available from: Elliot, M., 1997. Förtroende för medierna [Public Confidence in the Media]. Gothenburg: Institutionen för journalistik och masskommunikation, Göteborgs universitet. Eurobarometer, 2012. Special Eurobarometer for home affairs. Available from: http:// Eurobarometer interactive, 2000–2015. Trust for Radio, Television and Press. Available from: Fengler, S., et al., eds., 2014. Journalists and Media Accountability: An International Study of News People in the Digital Age. New York: Peter Lang. Goodwin, J., and Dahlstrom, M. F., 2014. Communication strategies for earning trust in climate change debates. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 5 (1), 151–160. Habermas, J., 2008. Den moralfilosofiska synpunkten. Moralfilosofiska texter sammanställda och översatta av Anders Molander [The Moral Philosophic Point of View. Texts on Discourse Ethics from 1983 and 1991]. Gothenburg: Daidalos. Häger, B., 2012. Problempartiet. Mediernas villrådighet kring SD valet 2010 [The Problem Party. Indecisive Media Attitudes in 2010 Election]. Stockholm: Institutet för mediestudier. Helmerson, E., 2016. Mer transparens om invandringen [More transparency regarding migration]. Dagens Nyheter, 1 June. Available from: sverige/hogt-betyg-till-mediers-trovardighet/ Herslow, E., 2016. Om självkritik och trovärdighet [On self-criticism and trustworthiness]. Norra Skåne, 7 April. Holt, K., 2016a. “Alternativmedier?” En intervjustudie om mediekritik och mediemisstro. [“Alternative media?” An interview study on media criticism and media distrust]. In: L. Truedson, ed., Migrationen i medierna – men det får en väl inte prata om! [Migration in the Media – If You’re Allowed to Talk about It?]. Stockholm: Institutet för mediestudier, 113–149. Holt, K., 2016b. Skilda verkligheter? “Internets undervegetation” vs “PK-maffian” [Worlds apart? The “weeds of the web” vs the “brotherhood of political correctness”]. In: L. Truedson, ed., Migrationen i medierna – men det får en väl inte prata om! [Migration in the Media – If You’re Allowed to Talk about It?]. Stockholm: Institutet för mediestudier, 150–173. Hovland, C., Janis, I., and Kelley, H., 1953. Communication and Persuasion. New Haven: Yale University Press. Hultén, G., 2006. Främmande sidor: främlingskap och nationell gemenskap i fyra svenska dagstidningar efter 1945 [Foreign Pages: Alienation and National Kinship in Four Swedish Dailies After 1945]. Stockholm: JMK. Stockholm University. Jönsson, M., 2016. Förödande siffror för alternativa “sanningssägare” [Devastating numbers for alternative “truth-tellers”]. Dagens Nyheter, 1 April. Available from: Karlsson-Bernfalk, M., 2016a. Vi måste berätta mer om hur vi arbetar [We must inform more about our reporting]. Norra Skåne, 26 March. Karlsson-Bernfalk, M., 2016b. And Svar [Answer]. Norra Skåne, 7 April.

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Kohring, M., and Matthes, J., 2007. Trust in news media: Development and validation of a multidimensional scale. Communication Research, 34 (2), 231–252. Kokkonen, A., 2016. Medierna, invandringen och förtroendet [Media, migration and trust]. Politologerna, 5 April. Available from: https://politologerna.wordpress. com/2016/04/05/medierna-invandringen-och-fortroendet/ Lifvendahl, T., 2016. Forskning med frågetecken [Questionable research]. Svenska Dagbladet, 12 June. Available from: McQuail, D., 2003. Media Accountability and Freedom of Publication. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Medieakademin, 2016. Förtroende för massmedier [Trust in mass media]. Available from: MIG Talks, 2016. Det talas och rapporteras om oss – nu vill vi ta ordet [We are reported on – Now we will present our views]. Migrationsverket, 22 April. Available from: Nesser, J., 2016a. De förstår inte hur journalistik går till [They don’t understand how journalism is produced]. Journalisten, 22 March. Nesser, J., 2016b. Hård kritik mot SD-bevakning [Fierce criticism of SD coverage]. Journalisten, 7 July. Nordström, D., 2016. Journalist tvingades fly – nu skriver han krönikor i VLT [ Journalist had to flee – Now he writes columns for VLT]. VLT, 12 June. Available from: http:// Petition, 2016. Principles for a more human migration narrative. Available from: https:// Polu, 2016. Reader’s comment. VLT, 13 June. Available from: http://blogg.mittmedia. se/nordstrom/2016/06/12/journalist-tvingades-f ly-nu-skriver-han-kronikorvlt/#comment-3335 Porlezza, C., and Russ-Mohl, S., 2013. Getting the facts straight in a digital era: Journalistic accuracy and trustworthiness. In: C. Peters and M. Broersma, eds. Rethinking Journalism. Trust and Participation in a Transformed News Landscape. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 45–59. Retriever, 2016. Mediearkivet [The media archive]. Available from: https://www. Rosén, H., 2016. Högt betyg till mediers trovärdighet [High grades for media credibility]. Dagens Nyheter, 1 April. Available from: Sandberg, L., and Demker, M., 2014. Starkare oro för främlingsfientlighet än för invandring [More concern over xenophobia than immigration]. In: A. Bergström and H. Oscarsson, eds. Mittfåra & marginal [Mainstream & Margin]. Gothenburg: Göteborgs universitet/SOM-institutet, 71–82. Svensson, G., 2015. Att förstå mediekritik: Begreppsliga, empiriska och teoretiska studier av svensk mediekritik 1998–2013 [Understanding Media Criticism: Conceptual, Empirical and Theoretical Studies of Swedish Media Criticism 1998–2013]. Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Truedson, L., ed., 2016. Migrationen i medierna – men det får en väl inte prata om! [Migration in the Media – If You’re Allowed to Talk about It?]. Stockholm: Institutet för mediestudier. Tsfati, Y., and Cappella, J. N., 2003. Do people watch what they do not trust? Exploring the association between news media scepticism and exposure. Communication Research, 30 (5), 504–529.

6 PRESS REPEAT Media self-regulation in the United Kingdom after Leveson Gordon Ramsay and Martin Moore

Introduction On 29 November 2012, after a 14-month-long inquiry featuring nine months of live-streamed oral testimony by 337 witnesses and written submissions from around 300 groups and individuals, Lord Justice Leveson stood up to deliver a statement summarising the findings laid out in his 2,000-page report on the culture, practices and ethics of the British press. The statement catalogued the failure of the previous self-regulatory system, the Press Complaints Commission, a list of abuses ranging from the criminal to the unethical, and a history of overly close relationships between the newspaper industry, the police and politicians. At the core of Leveson’s statement, one line stood out: that many titles in the UK’s national press had, on occasion, “wreaked havoc in the lives of innocent people” (Leveson Inquiry 2012b, p. 4). This line resonated widely, and has been cited frequently since by advocates of press reform in support of the judge’s recommendations, not least because it cut to the heart of the problem: the power of the press relative to ordinary citizens, and the negative externalities inflicted by an industry that is both powerful and lightly regulated. In the complex and often acrimonious developments that followed the Leveson Inquiry – developments that five years later are yet to be resolved – the issues of protecting individuals from potential abuses by the press and ensuring access to justice for ordinary citizens in such cases were quickly and almost completely sidelined. Instead, the post-Leveson environment was marked by a narrative – fostered by the majority of the newspaper industry, with some support from politicians – centred almost entirely on a narrow and binary interpretation of press freedom. This narrative was subsequently used to justify a policy of deliberate non-compliance by the industry and a unique situation where several news publishers set up a rival regulatory system in defiance of the recommendations set out

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by the Leveson Inquiry, agreed by all political parties in the UK Parliament, and strongly supported by the British public. As such, the aftermath of the Leveson Inquiry provides an exemplary demonstration of two key dilemmas surrounding public interventions on press regulation: the capacity of the industry to perform the twin role of lobbyists and messengers; and the reluctance of governments in democratic societies to impose tighter regulation on news publishers amid accusations of threats to press freedom. While the conditions that led to both the Leveson Inquiry and the newspaper industry’s response are in part unique to the UK context – the existence of powerful and coordinated industry representative bodies dominated by proprietorial interests, and a culture of close contact between political parties, governments and newspaper groups – the implications of the post-Leveson stasis apply beyond the British media environment. Accountability within democratic societies is reliant on institutions and industry sectors taking responsibility for their own actions – particularly when these lead to public harm – and accepting the need for reform when systematic failures occur. By rejecting the recommendations of an independent inquiry and the decision of all major political parties in Parliament, the majority of the newspaper industry in the UK also rejected the principles of responsibility and accountability. Any future inquiry into similar failings – and the newspaper industry’s alternative to the Leveson model leaves this possibility open – would be unable to make the same, or lesser, recommendations without risking ridicule. Similarly, other democratic governments will be less likely to consider innovative recommendations such as those put forward by the Leveson Inquiry, such as independent auditing and legal incentives, despite their applicability to the digital realm. This chapter explores how the issue of press reform played out in the UK following the publication of the Leveson Report in November 2012, and outlines the subsequent implications for access to justice and for protection of the “ordinary people” singled out by Leveson as the primary intended beneficiaries of regulatory reform. It begins with a summary of the historical context of regulatory interventions in the UK press, which is essential to understanding the response of the UK press to Leveson. It then outlines the reception of the Leveson recommendations, and the negotiations between political actors and the newspaper industry that culminated in the production of rival regulatory systems. Finally, it considers the implications of the outcomes five years after Leveson reported, where no settled resolution has yet been reached.

The historical context – seven decades of selective reform The Leveson Inquiry marked the seventh public intervention into the conduct of the UK press since 1947. Each of these commissions and reviews was prompted by evidence of press misbehaviour combined with concerns about concentration of ownership. Each saw an understandable reluctance by governments to intervene beyond the principle of voluntary self-regulation. However, after each public intervention the industry procrastinated before instituting reforms, often

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delaying until legislation was threatened, and then only introducing reforms selectively (Moore and Ramsay 2012). Royal Commissions in 1947–1949 and 1961–1962 were both conceived in response to fears of concentration in newspaper ownership (Great Britain 1949, 1962), proprietorial control over content (O’Malley and Soley 2000), as well as a series of high-profile privacy intrusions by journalists. Both Commissions made limited recommendations for more robust press regulation (in the case of the 1949 Commission report, suggesting the creation of a self-regulatory body – the General Council of the Press – in the first place). In each case, the newspaper industry agreed to the recommendations, yet subsequently failed to enact them. Only after the passage of some years, and under imminent threat of legislation, were (selective) reforms made by the industry (Snoddy 1992). Over the next two decades, perceived shortcomings in the self-regulatory body led to further demands for meaningful reform. The Privacy Committee of 1970 noted that the self-regulator acted more as a “champion” of the newspaper industry, rather than a regulator, and recommended that it be made more independent from the industry, with greater powers to sanction its members (Great Britain 1972). These recommendations were largely ignored by the industry. In 1977, the Third Royal Commission on the Press was again critical, and made twelve separate recommendations for improvement, including the implementation of a standards code – a measure originally recommended in 1949 (Great Britain 1977; Moore and Ramsay 2012, p. 94). The newspaper industry rejected all but three of these recommendations. Over the course of the 1980s, political and economic circumstances combined to create pressure for reform. A succession of measures introduced to Parliament from across the political spectrum demonstrated a lack of confidence in the capacity of the self-regulatory system to oversee press conduct (Moore and Ramsay 2012, pp. 17–18). The economic circumstances of the UK press also transformed in the 1980s as the power of print unions was broken, titles relocated from Fleet Street in the heart of London to cheaper premises and computerised publishing and printing technology drove down costs (Tunstall 1996). In an increasingly competitive market, unethical behaviour by journalists and photographers led to a series of high-profile scandals, a crescendo of criticism and a collapse in confidence in press regulation (Bingham 2007, pp. 79–81). In response to growing public concerns, the Government established a Committee on Privacy and Related Matters, headed by David Calcutt QC, which reported in June 1990. The Calcutt Report recommended that the press be given a final chance to prove that voluntary self-regulation could be made to work through the creation of a new Press Complaints Commission (PCC), but – cognisant of the industry’s previous selective approach to reform – placed an 18-month deadline for an adequate self-regulator to be set up by the industry, where failure to do so would result in statutory regulation (Home Office 1990). The newspaper industry disbanded its self-regulator and set up the PCC, along with a funding body – the Press Standards Board of Finance – through which the industry exercised

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extensive powers over the self-regulator. The new system did not adhere to many of the Calcutt recommendations on independent appointments, the ownership of the Standards Code, capacity to deal with third-party complaints or on launching its own inquiries into press behaviour (Bingham 2007, pp. 84–85). During the period of review, evidence also suggested that the PCC was often unable to ensure that members adhered to the Standards Code (Shannon 2001, pp. 92–93). As a result, the subsequent Review by Calcutt was damning, criticising the PCC as “not (…) an effective regulator of the press” and “a body set up by the industry, financed by the industry, dominated by the industry, operating a code of practice devised by the industry and which is over-favourable to the industry” (Department of National Heritage 1993, p. 41). Citing a lack of confidence in the willingness of the industry to reform, the Review recommended the creation of a statutory press tribunal as well as new criminal offences relating to breach of privacy. However, these recommendations, particularly the use of statute, were deemed to be excessive by the Government at the time (Dorrell 2012), which elected to ignore the second Calcutt report’s recommendations and allow the PCC the opportunity to prove itself, later described as a “missed opportunity” by the then Prime Minister, John Major (Major 2012, p. 39). The outcomes of the Calcutt reports in 1990 and 1993 exemplify the two points of tension that have characterised regulatory reform in the UK newspaper industry before and since: the willingness of the newspaper industry to act to prevent key aspects of recommended reform, through selective implementation of the less demanding recommendations; and the reluctance of successive governments to enforce reform or to implement sanctions as a consequence. The Calcutt Committee was famously described as representing the “last chance saloon” for self-regulation of the UK press (Bingham 2007, p. 79); instead, it demonstrated the effectiveness of intransigence by the newspaper industry where the main options open to government policy-makers were either to accept partial reform by the industry, buttressed by assurances of good behaviour, or to introduce statutory elements into press regulation. In 1993, as at every previous stand-off between the press and government, the government chose the former.

The Leveson Inquiry – origins and recommendations Though pressure for reform of press regulation abated in the mid-1990s, the period between the Calcutt Review and the Leveson Inquiry saw escalating evidence of press misbehaviour. In 2002, the Information Commissioner’s Office began an investigation which found that large sections of the press had used private detectives to engage in the widespread trade in private information, involving criminal breaches of data protection legislation. When the Information Commissioner subsequently called for a strengthening of legal penalties to disincentivise such behaviour, he was, as the Leveson Report noted, “met with intense lobbying by the press (and by the Press Complaints Commission)” (Leveson Inquiry 2012b, p. 7). When, in 2006, a News of the World journalist and a private detective were

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convicted for hacking the phone messages of members of the British Royal family, the PCC conducted a limited investigation, decided not to investigate or sanction the paper on the basis of past hacking, and unconditionally accepted the News of the World’s explanation that wrongdoing was limited to “one rogue reporter” (Leveson Inquiry 2012a, pp. 1567–1571). In 2009, journalists at the Guardian identified evidence suggesting that phone hacking may extend beyond the 2006 case; the PCC’s response consisted not of investigating the News of the World but criticising the Guardian (Leveson Inquiry 2012b, p. 8). The inability of the PCC to act as an effective regulator could be traced to its structural weakness and its dependence on the industry it was intended to regulate. It was, from its inception, governed by senior figures in the newspaper industry, dependent on annual funding from the major publishers, significantly limited in its powers, and lacking any capacity to impose material sanctions. In his report, Lord Justice Leveson was critical in his judgement of the regulator: The fundamental problem is that the PCC, despite having held itself out as a regulator, and thereby raising expectations, is not actually a regulator at all. In reality it is a complaints handling body. Scarcely any less profound are the numerous structural deficiencies which have hamstrung the organisation. It lacks independence. (Leveson Inquiry 2012b, p. 12) The incident that triggered the Leveson Inquiry and the collapse of the PCC actually took place in March 2002. Journalists at the News of the World hacked the mobile phone of a missing schoolgirl – later found to have been murdered – to obtain leads about the story. The Guardian uncovered the hacking, and published its findings on 4 July 2011. As a result of the immediate public outcry, within three days the closure of the News of the World was announced, and within ten days a public inquiry had been set up. Since the Leveson Inquiry was largely predicated on the failure of the PCC system (the Report outlines in detail the factors that contributed to the regulatory system’s failure – see Leveson Inquiry 2012a, pp. 1515–1580), the judge was tasked with formulating a new proposed system according to criteria that were published and tested at the outset of the Inquiry: 1. effectiveness, in terms of credibility and durability with both the press and the public; 2. fairness and objectivity of standards; 3. independence, transparency of enforcement and compliance; 4. effective and credible powers together with remedies; 5. sufficient funding (Leveson Inquiry 2012b, p. 13). Ultimately, the report contained 47 recommendations for a new regulatory system, of which 38 applied to the regulator itself. Leveson recommended a new

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system of continued self-regulation but underpinned by legislation to ensure that any self-regulatory bodies adhered to the Leveson criteria, and to give effect to incentives available to members of the self-regulatory system. The system can be summarised as follows: •• •• •• ••

a regulator (or regulators) set up and run by publishers, in accordance with the Leveson criteria for a regulatory system, backed up by: a mechanism of independent verification to ensure that the regulator(s) met, and continued to meet, the criteria; an arbitration service providing low-cost resolution of civil claims between members of the public and publishers; changes to existing law to give force to the incentives to be gained by members of a recognised regulator (and by definition denied to non-members). These legal incentives would cover: 1. awards of legal costs in cases where a claimant or publisher chooses to bypass the low-cost arbitration system; 2. the extension of exemplary damages to cover media cases where a publisher has shown wilful disregard of standards.

The system Leveson proposed therefore recognised the desirability of self-regulation, but also the need for a system that avoided the structural frailties of the PCC and recognised the intransigence of the UK national newspaper industry in responding to previous calls for reform. Indeed, Leveson foresaw the likely nature of opposition to his proposed system: Despite what will be said about these recommendations by those who oppose them, this is not, and cannot be characterised as, statutory regulation of the press. What is proposed here is independent regulation of the press organised by the press, with a statutory verification process to ensure that the required levels of independence and effectiveness are met by the system in order for publishers to take advantage of the benefits arising as a result of membership. (Leveson Inquiry 2012b, p. 17) In fact, opposition by many in the newspaper industry to the Leveson Inquiry had been building over the course of the Inquiry: coverage of the Inquiry became substantially more negative in the run-up to the publication of the report, with repeated framing of Leveson as representing a threat to press freedom (Ramsay 2013a, p. 13). During this period, a subset of publishers set up a lobby group, the Free Speech Network, to counter pro-reform pressure groups, to pre-empt the publication of the Leveson Report with recommendations of their own, and also publishing full-page adverts comparing the (as yet unpublished) Leveson recommendations as “state control of the press” alongside photographs of dictators,

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including Kim Jong-Un and Robert Mugabe (Greenslade 2012). This twin strategy of parallel negotiation and lobbying would characterise the industry’s response to Leveson over the following year.

The aftermath of Leveson – Royal Charters, industry lobbying, and the emergence of a parallel regulatory system Within hours of the publication of the Leveson Report, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, made two interventions that would shape the negotiations that followed. First, he rejected the use of statute to underpin the new system, undermining its central component. The decision was cheered by many in the press, alongside a high volume of coverage that was sharply critical of the Report and its recommendations (Ramsay 2014). The second, related, intervention by Cameron was his citation of “Leveson principles.” These principles were: “independence of appointments and funding, a standards code, an arbitration service, and a speedy complaint-handling mechanism. Crucially, it must have the power to demand up-front, prominent apologies and impose up to million-pound fines” (HC Deb 29 November 2012, Col. 448). This was a curious truncation of the Leveson recommendations, which had never referred to any “principles.” Cameron’s subsequent justification for rejecting the report’s core recommendation of statutory underpinning was based on his own – arbitrary – redefinition (HC Deb 29 November 2012, Col. 449), and his formulation of “Leveson principles” was subsequently interpreted by parts of the newspaper industry as a starting point for negotiation. A third decisive intervention by David Cameron took place five days after his statement to the House of Commons: in a meeting with newspaper editors, he gave responsibility for enacting reform to the industry (BBC 2012). The following day, newspaper editors publicly claimed to have agreed to 40 out of 47 of Leveson’s detailed recommendations. However, a leaked document from the meeting indicated that they had in fact agreed to just 23 of the 47 (Media Standards Trust 2013). Regardless, this process soon unravelled – on 14 December several newspaper publishing groups wrote to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) informing the minister responsible that they, not editors, would lead negotiations over a new regulatory system (Media Standards Trust 2013), thereby sidelining the role of ordinary journalists in the process. During December 2012, in a move that would fundamentally reshape the postLeveson negotiations, the Minister of State for Government Policy, Oliver Letwin, proposed the use of a Royal Charter as a possible mechanism to underpin the legislative aspects of Leveson’s system without the necessity of legislation on press regulation having to pass through Parliament. Royal Charters had first been used in medieval and early modern Britain to grant monopoly rights over trade to bodies favoured by the monarch. More recently they had been used to give institutions and organisations authority (such as the BBC) without requiring legislation.

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The use of a Royal Charter to underpin press regulation became a controversial move – initially welcomed by the newspaper industry, and then rejected forcefully. An early draft Royal Charter was given by DCMS to a small group of stakeholders, including representatives of the newspaper industry; on 4 January 2013, Peter Wright, a representative of Associated Newspapers (publishers of the Daily Mail), demanded changes to the initial draft Charter, and specified 14 points that the newspaper industry would not accept (Media Standards Trust 2013). In the first full draft Royal Charter, made public on 12 February 2013, many of the demands outlined in the letter by Peter Wright had been accommodated, regarding ownership of the Standards Code, industry vetoes on regulatory appointments, the power of the regulator to direct corrections, investigatory powers, and on a lack of sanction if the self-regulatory body failed to meet the criteria set out by Leveson. The press praised the draft Charter, describing it as “the fruit of intensive talks” between press and politicians (Ponsford 2013). In Parliament, opposition parties raised concerns about the differences between the Royal Charter and the Leveson recommendations, and questioned the capacity of the government’s draft Royal Charter to deliver the reforms the Leveson Inquiry said were necessary to ensure independence and effectiveness on behalf of the public. Splits were also emerging within the industry. Some national newspaper publishers – covering the Guardian, the Financial Times and the Independent – became detached from the five major national publishers that had been leading negotiations: Trinity Mirror, Northern and Shell, Associated Newspapers, Telegraph Media Group and News UK. Cross-party discussions to adapt the Charter broke down on 14 March after the Prime Minister, David Cameron, refused to continue. On the same day, the opposition parties tabled amendments to a legislative Bill passing through Parliament that would enshrine Leveson’s incentives into law, exposing the government to a possible damaging loss in the House of Commons. On 15 March, the Conservative Party unilaterally published a revised Royal Charter, which retained many of the discrepancies from Leveson. In response, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats published an alternative draft Charter that sought to integrate the recommendations as Leveson had recommended. Since Royal Charters cannot be granted where political controversy exists, unanimous agreement between the government and opposition was necessary. With a parliamentary loss likely, on 17 March David Cameron and Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats (also Deputy Prime Minister due to the coalition government arrangement of the 2010–2015 Parliament), agreed a final version of the Royal Charter, considerably closer to that tabled by Labour and the Liberal Democrats two days before. At a subsequent meeting, the wording was agreed between Clegg, Ed Miliband (leader of the Labour Party) and members of the pro-reform group Hacked Off, representing victims of press abuse. The following day the Cross-Party Royal Charter was published, with the House of Commons voting in favour of the Charter and the legal amendments that gave its incentives force (Media Standards Trust 2013).

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The response of the five publishing groups negotiating on behalf of the newspaper industry was vociferous. Having been supportive of the Royal Charter process during the period of bilateral negotiation with the government, their response after March 18 was sharply critical (Ramsay 2013b). As with the publication of the Leveson Report, the volume of articles about press regulation spiked dramatically in the days after March 18, the Cross-Party Royal Charter was criticised as undemocratic, and the “threat to press freedom” frame was ubiquitous (Ramsay 2014, p. 64). The negotiators for the industry announced their rejection of the system proposed by the Royal Charter (O’Carroll 2013). The intensive framing by the majority of the national newspaper industry failed to make a significant impression on public opinion, however. Multiple opinion polls were conducted between 2012 and 2014 on the issue of press regulation, regularly confirming that the public were in favour of much stricter regulation, supported the recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry – including specific recommendations on key issues such as arbitration – and were not supportive of the actions of the newspaper industry following Leveson (Ramsay 2014, pp. 75–88). Although not effective in changing the opinion of the public as a whole, the consistent framing of Leveson as a profound threat to press freedom continued to be used by the five publishing groups as a justification for their actions. In a move to obstruct the Cross-Party Charter, on 25 April the industry’s funding body, the Press Standards Board of Finance (PressBoF), published and submitted their own draft Royal Charter. Since, due to procedural issues, the Cross-Party Charter could not be accepted until the rival industry Charter had been considered, this stalled the process of recognition for several months. The industry’s Charter was further from Leveson’s recommendations than anything previously published, and placed substantial power in the hands of the industry. PressBoF, it proposed, would oversee all press regulation, and gain full control over deciding whether regulatory standards were being met. Any arbitration service would be wholly optional, and the powers of the regulator would be significantly diluted (Media Standards Trust 2013). Coverage of this Charter by the five publishing groups in whose name it had been created was overwhelmingly positive, but public opinion polling continued to demonstrate that the British public had no confidence in the industry’s own system (Ramsay 2014). In October 2013, the industry Charter was eventually rejected, and the Cross-Party Charter accepted. The five publishing groups rejected the Cross-Party Charter and announced the creation of their own self-regulatory body to replace the Press Complaints Commission. This new body would be called IPSO (the Independent Press Standards Organisation) and would not seek to be audited according to the Leveson criteria as set out in the Cross-Party Royal Charter. These publishers were, in effect, refusing to participate in the Leveson system, choosing instead to establish their own system with its own rules. The industry would subsequently cite David Cameron’s “Leveson Principles” as the standard by which they would judge their regulator.

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When the details of the IPSO scheme were published in October 2013, an initial assessment by the present authors showed that the regulator fell a considerable distance short of fulfilling the Leveson criteria. There were some improvements, notably in aspects of the internal complaints-handling processes of members of IPSO. However, of the 38 recommendations laid out in the Leveson Report that were directly applicable to the self-regulator, IPSO satisfied just 16 (Moore and Ramsay 2013, pp. 26–40). The regulator failed to achieve even the broad criteria in Leveson’s remit. The key areas in which the original configuration of IPSO fell short related to: ••




independence: IPSO was dependent on the industry at almost every level. The new funding body, the Regulatory Funding Company (RFC), played a substantial role in appointments, regulations, investigations, sanctions, arbitration and voting, despite there being no apparent need for a funding body to have powers beyond those related to the collection and distribution of funds; arbitration: the arbitration system attached to the IPSO system was subject to a veto from the RFC, optional to publishers to join, with publishers retaining the power to decline access to arbitration for claimants on a case-by-case basis, negating the principle of using arbitration to reduce costs for individuals; complaints: IPSO retained a highly similar complaints process to that of the PCC, but with added opportunities for publishers to intervene and prolong the mediation process, exacerbating the issue of “complaint fatigue” that Leveson identified as a feature of the PCC system; investigations and sanctions: the IPSO investigations process was not “simple and credible” as Leveson suggested, allowing up to six interventions by the publisher (with no capacity for victims to intervene). The IPSO rules also contained changes to the Leveson recommendations, with profound implications for investigations. For example, Leveson’s stipulation that “serious or systemic” code breaches should constitute grounds for an investigation became “serious and systemic” breaches in the IPSO rules, thus substantially raising the barrier for investigations (Moore and Ramsay 2013).

The (partial) implementation of Leveson, 2013–2017 Following the formal acceptance of the Cross-Party Royal Charter in October 2013, an external body was created with a remit to review the independence and effectiveness of self-regulatory bodies (should those bodies put themselves forward for review). This new body, the Press Recognition Panel (PRP), began operating in November 2014, with regulators able to apply for recognition from September 2015. With IPSO continuing to refuse to seek recognition (and unable to meet the Charter criteria without fundamental reform), one other self-regulator did seek recognition: the Independent Monitor of the Press (IMPRESS). In October 2016, the PRP ruled that IMPRESS satisfied the criteria laid out in the Royal Charter, and granted it official recognition.

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However, the legal incentives that Leveson proposed to incentivise joining an officially recognised regulator were not fully implemented (and had not been by the end of 2017). The first – the extension of exemplary damages in cases where a publisher has shown wilful and egregious disregard of standards – was written into Section 34 of the 2013 Crime and Courts Act. The second, on awards of costs in legal cases outside the low-cost arbitration system, was written into Section 40 of the same Act but was not commenced by the government. This has far greater potential to affect news publishers. Section 40, were it to be commenced, would protect those publishers that were members of a recognised regulator from high court costs, while exposing news publishers outside a recognised system to high court costs: Under this law, members of an approved regulator would not (other than in exceptional circumstances) pay the legal costs of a claimant who chose to sue them and won, rather than raising the point through the approved regulator’s arbitration scheme. Those who choose not to join an approved regulator would (other than in exceptional circumstances) pay both sides’ costs in legal cases, whether they win or lose. (Press Recognition Panel 2017, pp. 8–9) This is a central point of the reforms that the Leveson Inquiry deemed necessary in UK press regulation – a clear incentive for publishers to join a regulatory body through providing protection from vexatious or intimidatory suits by wealthy claimants, and a disincentive to publishers who wish to use their financial and legal power to prevent individuals from pursuing valid claims through the UK’s prohibitively expensive High Court system. However, successive Secretaries of State have deferred the decision to commence Section 40. A DCMS consultation on the implementation of Leveson in December 2016 is yet to report at the time of writing. Therefore, the Royal Charter system designed to minimise political influence in the new regulatory apparatus hangs on the decision of an elected, party-political minister, under pressure to continue to delay the decision by a newspaper industry that professes to abhor “state control” of press regulation.

The post-Leveson landscape, five years on: problems deferred Five years after Leveson’s Report, changes have occurred, but little has been resolved. There is an external recognition body, the PRP, charged with enacting the content of the Royal Charter. It has recognised a regulator – IMPRESS – which it deems to be compliant with the criteria laid out in the Charter, but no large newspaper companies have elected to join IMPRESS; while Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act remains uncommenced by the government, there is little incentive for publishers to do so. Three legacy print publishers, covering the Guardian, the Independent and the Financial Times, remain outside any

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external system of self-regulation, and have instead instituted their own internal complaints mechanisms, showing no sign of supporting the commencement of Section 40. The IPSO-affiliated industry members have since 2012 launched a series of legal challenges against the Leveson system – challenging the legality of the decision to reject the industry’s Charter in 2013, the decision to ratify the Cross-Party Royal Charter, the creation of the PRP and – most recently – a judicial review of the PRP’s decision to recognise IMPRESS (Press Recognition Panel 2017, p. 16). This strategy of legal challenge is rational from the point of view of IPSO’s members – Section 40, if commenced, would only have an effect while any regulator is recognised by the PRP. If IMPRESS were to lose its status of recognition, IPSO could continue to operate unchallenged outside the Leveson framework. In early 2016, IPSO commissioned a retired civil servant, Sir Joseph Pilling, to conduct a review of its regulatory system (Pilling 2016). The report, titled “The External IPSO Review,” was in fact set up by IPSO, which set the parameters of the review, selected and paid the reviewers, and hosts the report on its website. Of the sources Pilling approached during his review, 84% (53 of 63) worked for IPSO or within the newspaper industry; none were complainants who had used the IPSO system (Moore and Ramsay 2016, p. 26). Pilling’s review noted some of the ways in which IPSO’s structure improved upon the previous PCC system but was unable to make a judgement on the three most significant differences – on investigations, fines or arbitration – as none of these mechanisms had yet been used by IPSO. The Review did not examine the role of the Regulatory Funding Company with regard to the independence of IPSO despite the extensive powers of the funding body, and the limited terms of reference meant that the review was also unable to comment on the regulatory implications of IPSO’s refusal to seek recognition by the Press Recognition Panel. As such, the Pilling Review can best be read as an encouragement towards further, narrow reform, rather than an external evaluation of the independence and effectiveness of IPSO. Finally, the route of access to justice for the public remains largely closed. While IMPRESS offers a low-cost arbitration system to members which provides an avenue of redress for the public where they have a valid civil claim, IPSO runs an arbitration system (launched as a pilot in August 2016), which continues to defeat the purpose of having arbitration at all, since IPSO’s members can still decide on a case-by-case basis whether or not to ignore the arbitration route and deny members of the public access to the service, thereby forcing them into the expensive High Court system if they continue to pursue their claim. In November 2017, IPSO announced changes to the arbitration system, but these amounted to little more than a reduction in costs for individuals bringing claims. In December 2017, 17 months after the creation of IPSO’s arbitration system, it is yet to deal with a single case. Likewise, IPSO has not launched a single investigation into the industry that it is supposed to regulate, and consequently has not levied a financial sanction on any of its members, despite evidence of patterns of reporting by IPSO members that appear to contravene the Standards Code.

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Systematic inaccuracies have been flagged by observers in IPSO members’ coverage of the European Union (Ponsford 2017) and potentially inflammatory coverage of immigrants and Muslims (Sherwood 2017), among other high-profile cases of inaccurate reporting (Grierson 2017). So far, IPSO has deemed none of these cases to be sufficient grounds to launch an investigation.

Conclusions The events following the publication of the Leveson Report in November 2012 are perhaps the most vivid example so far of the cycle of selective reform that has defined press regulation in the UK since the Second World War. As a result, the outcome – as with each of the previous six moments of public intervention in press regulation – leaves open the likelihood that further interventions will be necessary in future. From the perspective of the public, the situation at the end of 2017 is deeply unsatisfactory. One self-regulator – IPSO – suffers from many of the same fundamental flaws as its predecessor, the Press Complaints Commission. Dependent on major newspaper publishers and highly constrained in its powers, its effectiveness as a regulator is severely limited, and its primary function continues to be a complaints-handling and mediation service, with only partial capacity to monitor members’ compliance with its standards code. Another self-regulatory body – IMPRESS – fulfils the criteria set out in the Royal Charter to implement the majority of the Leveson Report’s recommendations, but its members are primarily smaller or digital publications, and no major legacy publisher has yet shown intent to become a member. With several large newspaper publishers electing to join neither, regulatory coverage is less comprehensive than it was before Leveson. The proposed low-cost arbitration is also largely denied to the public: IPSO’s system remains entirely optional for publishers, and while the government continues to retain the discretionary power not to activate the section of the 2013 Crime and Courts Act that would make arbitration binding and effective, there is little incentive for large publishers to join IMPRESS (or any other Leveson-compliant alternative) and therefore adopt an arbitration service that fulfils Leveson’s criteria. The post-Leveson negotiations were a remarkable illustration of the continued power of the British press, even in a digital age. That the majority of the industry could – as dictated by representatives of publishers rather than journalists themselves – simply refuse to participate in a system recommended by an independent inquiry, agreed by all three main political parties and supported by regular and repeated public opinion polls, is testament to the industry’s capacity to resist external interventions. By consistently and continuously using editorial content to promote their own solutions, and to criticise the Leveson system and its proponents, IPSO’s members also demonstrated a capacity to frame the policy options as a binary choice between freedom and state control in a manner that would make public relations companies representing other industries

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envious. Though this failed to move the dial of public opinion, the narrative was deployed as a justification for the industry’s refusal to accommodate the Leveson recommendations. There are lessons to be drawn from the post-Leveson process that have implications for media regulation beyond the UK. The vulnerabilities inherent in the industry’s regulatory system risk further reputational damage to the principle of self-regulation, should IPSO’s inability to monitor failings or to investigate wrongdoing lead to further scandals emerging. As Leveson noted, self-regulation remains the best approach in ensuring press freedom, as long as it can fulfil basic principles of ensuring independence and accountability; it would be ironic if the failure to implement his proposed reforms led to the further reputational damage for self-regulation, and provided justification elsewhere for stricter regulation or governmental oversight. The tactics deployed by the newspaper industry in responding to Leveson also have ramifications: democratic governments will justifiably be wary of being seen to intervene in media regulation where the issue is portrayed as a binary choice between freedom and government control. This proved to be an effective framing strategy in the context of the Leveson Inquiry and provides a possible blueprint for resistance to regulatory policy elsewhere; negotiation of media regulation in a spirit of transparency and in good faith will be essential in future. Leveson’s recommendations themselves – misrepresentation aside – also provide a potential solution to regulation in a fragmented digital news environment; independent oversight and incentives to ensure assessability and reliability of regulation and of redress for the public may prove to be a vital tool to prevent a regulatory race to the bottom. During and after Leveson, many commentators claimed that the Inquiry was backward- rather than forward-looking – that the problems for which Leveson devised solutions were suited to the 20th and not the 21st century. However, the five years that have elapsed after Leveson have not only shown the persistence of many of the problems the Inquiry exposed, but the continuing value of its proposed scheme – most notably the elements of independent external auditing of self-regulators to ensure adherence to regulatory standards, and incentives to encourage publishers to participate. Though these proposals have to date been successfully resisted by the majority of the UK, they will doubtless be revisited in future as and when the cyclical problems inherent in the UK’s self-regulating press arise again.

References BBC, 2012. Leveson report: Cameron tells editors to sort out regulator., 4 December. Available from: Bingham, A., 2007. Drinking in the Last Chance Saloon: The British Press and the crisis of self-regulation, 1989–95. Media History, 13 (1), 79–92. Department of National Heritage, 1993. Review of Press Self-Regulation. London: HMSO. Dorrell, S., 2012. Witness Statement to the Leveson Inquiry, 2 May. Available from: http://

98  Gordon Ramsay and Martin Moore pdf Great Britain, 1949. Royal Commission on the Press: Report. London: HMSO. Great Britain, 1962. Royal Commission on the Press, 1961–1962: Report. London: HMSO. Great Britain, 1972. The Report of the Committee on Privacy. London: HMSO. Great Britain, 1977. Royal Commission on the Press: Final Report. London: HMSO. Greenslade, R., 2012. Newspapers urge Cameron to put press back in the Last Chance Saloon., 26 November. Available from: https://www.theguardian. com/media/greenslade/2012/nov/26/national-newspapers-leveson-inquiry Grierson, J., 2017. Muslim fostering row: How the Times and Mail gave a skewed portrayal., 1 September. Available from: society/2017/sep/01/muslim-fostering-row-media-times-mail-skewed-portrayal HC Deb, 29 November 2012. Columns 446–449. Available from: https://publications. pa rl ia ment.u k /pa /cm 201213/cm ha nsrd /cm121129/debtex t/121129 - 0 0 03. htm#12112958000004 Home Office, 1990. Report of the Committee on Privacy and Related Matters. London: HMSO. Leveson Inquiry, 2012a. An Inquiry into the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press. London: HMSO. Leveson Inquiry, 2012b. An Inquiry into the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press. Executive Summary. London: HMSO. Major, J., 2012. First Witness Statement to the Leveson Inquiry, 14 May. Available from: http:// Media Standards Trust, 2013. The story of eight charters., 20 June. Available from: Moore, M., and Ramsay, G., 2012. A Free and Accountable Media. Reform of Press SelfRegulation: Report and Recommendations. London: Media Standards Trust. Moore, M., and Ramsay, G., 2013. IPSO: An Assessment. London: Media Standards Trust. Moore, M., and Ramsay, G., 2016. Submission to Consultation on the Leveson Inquiry and Its Implementation. London: King’s College London. O’Carroll, L., 2013. Press regulation at risk as newspaper groups refuse to endorse deal., 18 March. Available from: media/2013/mar/18/press-regulation-newspaper-groups-refuse-endorse O’Malley, T., and Soley, C., 2000. Regulating the Press. London: Pluto. Pilling, J., 2016. The External IPSO Review. London: IPSO. Ponsford, D., 2013. Press owners welcome Tory plan for independent regulator underpinned by Royal Charter. Press Gazette, 13 February. Available from: http:// Ponsford, D., 2017. The Express was a repeat offender when it came to misleading press coverage ahead of UK’s vote to leave the European Union. Press Gazette, 17 November. Available from: Press Recognition Panel, 2017. Annual Report on the Recognition System 2017. London: Press Recognition Panel. Ramsay, G., 2013a. Analysis: Press Coverage of Leveson, Part 1: The Inquiry. London: Media Standards Trust.

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Ramsay, G., 2013b. The Leveson news filter. British Journalism Review, 24 (3), 25–31. Ramsay, G., 2014. How Newspapers Covered Press Regulation after Leveson. London: Media Standards Trust. Shannon, R., 2001. A Press Free and Responsible. Self-regulation and the Press Complaints Commission 1991–2001. London: John Murray. Sherwood, H., 2017. Press publishing “consistent stream” of inaccurate stories about Muslims., 19 January. Available from: world/2017/jan/19/press-publishing-consistent-stream-of-inaccurate-stories-aboutmuslims Snoddy, R., 1992. The Good, the Bad, and the Unacceptable. The Hard News about the British Press. London: Faber and Faber. Tunstall, J., 1996. Newspaper Power. The New National Press in Britain. Oxford: Clarendon.

7 MEDIA ACCOUNTABILITY MEETS MEDIA POLARISATION A case study from Poland Michał Głowacki and Michał Kuś

Introduction Challenges related to media accountability form the basis of the case study of Poland, one of the biggest countries representing central and eastern European media cultures. These are far from the Western media traditions. Both the origins and outcomes of social, cultural, economic and political transformation of the late 1980s and early 1990s, such as the legacy of communism and the underdevelopment of civil society, have contributed to a weak media accountability. Although Polish journalists often claim that they follow ethical standards in the daily work in the newsrooms, the practice has proven that maintaining a high level of professional journalism has often become problematic. Quality journalism in Poland has been widely challenged by close media-political relationships, a lack of media independence, ideological diversity of journalistic communities as well as a specific political culture, all of which have never really allowed media accountability to flourish. Discussions on media professionalisation and accountability in Poland have recently gathered broad attention in the aftermath of the 2015 parliamentary and presidential elections. These led to the creation of a majority government by the conservative Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, PiS) party and the election of Andrzej Duda – former member of PiS – as a President of the Republic of Poland. Several reforms introduced by the government have raised constraints by international organisations which aim to safeguard democracy and freedom. Both the Council of Europe and the European Commission took steps to investigate whether the rule of law in Poland has been under threat. Sharp relations between the country and the EU’s institutions, including other policy-related issues such as reforms to the judiciary system and governance of public service media, Poland’s response to so-called “migration crisis” and plans for tightening

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the abortion law have further revealed deep societal divisions. People gathered on the streets either to provide support or to protest the government’s policy. Under these conditions, the majority of Polish media outlets as well as journalistic associations set preferences to both pro- and anti-governmental agendas. All of this has made traditional divisions in Polish journalism even bigger and has contributed to the shrinking of the free press. In this chapter, we argue that recent changes in Polish society and politics, alongside those related to media freedom, call for a re-examination of journalism and the role of media accountability. We also argue that existing theoretical concepts highlighting the interplay between politics and media, such as political parallelism, media instrumentalisation and external pluralism, might have become inadequate to fully reflect on the current Polish case. Therefore, referencing to previous theoretical approaches to social and political polarisation, we aim to develop and test a multi-layered analytical prism of media polarisation. Through an examination of several indicators, such as media regulation, market structure, media ownership as well as its financing and governance, we look at the first stage, which highlights structural foundations of media polarisation. These – when meeting social/political topics gathering attention and/or creating controversy – might further be reflected in journalistic actions. By mapping examples of biased reporting, the creation of enemy and media tribes as well as acts of aggression (hate speech and physical aggression), we aim to discuss the behavioural level of media polarisation processes. Our analysis is being conducted when accounting for media-political relations and the role media accountability is to play. The hypothesis is that the weaknesses of media accountability institutions have opened up the floor to a growing level of media polarisation. This, in turn, has made societal/political divisions even stronger, and might be additional factors diminishing the accountability and responsibility of Polish journalists. Among the salient questions to be addressed are: what are the origins and drivers of media polarisation in Poland? In what ways have market structure and journalistic behaviours reflected and contributed to societal/political and media divisions? How to foster media accountability in times of social conflicts and tensions? What role does media accountability have to play?

Poland’s difficult road to media accountability The nature and development of journalism and media accountability in Poland have been subjects of studies and policy reports both at the national and international levels. Although open discussion on media ethics and critical features of Polish journalism became possible only after 1989, it has resulted with several studies on the structure of the Polish media accountability system and contextual factors for professional journalism development. Poland introduced self-regulatory mechanisms at the early stage of social and political transformation. For instance, the Charter of Media Ethics defined a set

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of journalistic principles, such as truth, objectivity, tolerance, respect, freedom and accountability. The Council of Media Ethics was appointed to safeguard these standards. It was designed to be a moral reference, without possibility to apply any sanctions. The growth of media accountability initiatives has also been reflected in ethical codes by journalistic unions and associations (Głowacki and Urbaniak 2011). Several media outlets, including public service media (PSM), have adopted in-house mechanisms, such as ethical guidelines and commissions. For instance, one of the principles laid down in a set of journalistic principles of Polish Television (Telewizja Polska – TVP) emphasises that: “In conflict situations, the journalist is obliged to make every effort to reach the sources of information of all parties of the dispute. If this is not possible, it indicates that these are partial data” (Zasady etyki dziennikarskiej w Telewizji Polskiej S.A.). Maintaining pluralism of opinions in PSM has also been reflected in media regulation (Ustawa o radiofonii i telewizji 1992). Public criticism on the content of broadcasting media can be addressed to the National Broadcasting Council (Krajowa Rada Radiofonii i Telewizji, KRRiT) with a reference to principles and obligations laid down in the broadcasting law. Empirical research conducted within the international project “Media Accountability and Transparency in Europe” (MediaAcT) has proven that Polish journalism attaches more meaning to traditional media accountability than to innovations online (Kuś 2011; Głowacki and Kuś 2012; Dobek-Ostrowska et al. 2018). Most of the journalists surveyed declared that they felt responsible to their own conscience and journalistic standards. However, journalists attached more attention to media regulation than self-regulatory mechanisms; 44% of them noted that journalists in Poland do not maintain ethical standards in their daily work. The biggest problems for professional journalism development have been seen through the lenses of economic pressure and work conditions (salary) (Głowacki 2013). Research conducted within the international comparative study “Journalism in Change: Professional Journalistic Cultures in Russia, Poland and Sweden” further mapped the danger of media-political relations (Nygren and Dobek-Ostrowska 2015). This has empirically proven theoretical assumptions at a high level of systemic and political parallelism (Jakubowicz 2008; Dobek-Ostrowska 2012), party colonisation (Bajomi-Lázár 2014) and Polish journalists being weak as a response to political pressure (Jakubowicz and Sükösd 2008; Zielonka 2015). Journalistic unions and associations have been divided along political cleavages and have not represented a united front (Szot 2010; Głowacki 2017). Growing divisions in both society and the political arena and the radicalisation of the media discourse were widely reflected and supported by the media in the aftermath of the presidential plane crash in Smolensk in 2010 and the parliamentary elections of 2015. These political and ideological “gaps” have become more visible as a response to recent reforms on public service media, the rise of conservative media outlets supporting the Law and Justice government, as well as new professional challenges, such as hate speech, fake news, filter bubbles, and so on. Dzięciołowski (2017) argues that “the Smolensk air crash has (...) become a symbol of media failure and polarisation” (p. 32) and “has pushed

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Polish journalism to embrace a highly partisan, political and polarised approach” (p. 34). Similarly, Freedom House notes the shrinking of the free press in the country: Poland’s status declined from Free to Partly Free due to government intolerance toward independent or critical reporting, excessive political interference in the affairs of public media, and restrictions on speech regarding Polish history and identity, which have collectively contributed to increased self-censorship and polarisation. (Freedom House 2017b)

Approaching media polarisation The concept of polarisation has been widely used in science for years. This includes physics (the polarisation of an electromagnetic wave), mathematics, as well as urban studies, economics, political science, psychology (bipolar disorder), sociology (group polarisation), and so on. In social sciences, generally, it refers to “the fact of people or opinions being divided into two opposing groups” (Cambridge Dictionary 2017) and/or “division into two sharply contrasting groups or sets of opinions or beliefs” (Oxford Dictionary 2017). Polarisation occurs when an individual holds strong, or even extreme, attitudes about an issue or an individual. According to Isenberg (1986, p. 1141, cited in Wanta 2008), it can be especially apparent in group settings, when “an initial tendency of individual group members toward a given direction is enhanced following group discussion.” In political science, the term has been mostly used to highlight polarisation in the public sphere and the divergence of political attitudes to ideological extremes (see for instance Abramowitz and Saunders 2008; Pew Research Center 2014). Several authors stress the importance of media when fostering and reflecting on the polarisation of groups in society. Through reference to comparative politics by Sartori (1976), Hallin and Mancini (2004) build on two types of pluralism: moderate and polarised. They argue that political cultures close to polarised pluralist traditions (such as in Italy, Spain and Portugal) are characterised by “sharp political conflicts often involving changes of regime. The media typically have been used as instruments of struggle in these conflicts, sometimes by dictatorships and by movements struggling against them, but also by contending parties in periods of democratic politics” (Hallin and Mancini 2004, p. 61). In line with this, Wanta (2008) refers to polarisation to provide evidence that in the case of Fox News in the USA, both the source of information and the characteristics of the message might have contributed to the polarisation of people’s attitudes. Most recently, several authors in the USA have posed questions on the extent to which social media contribute to societal and political divergence (Bromwich 2017; Marozzo and Bessi 2018). Bearing in mind that in the approaches presented here we use term “media polarisation” to highlight the ways in which different societal and political views,

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attitudes and behaviours are being both reflected and supported by the media. We also argue there is an interplay between other terms which might be helpful to fully understand suggested levels of media polarisation. Our 4P approach highlights the importance of: •• •• •• ••

pluralism (of opinions and the media); political parallelism; professional journalism; the public.

First, then, we argue here that media polarisation shall be understood in line with diversity of opinions, which is being regarded as one of the founding principles of democratic societies (see, for instance, European Convention of Human Rights 1950; Carlsson 2016). At its most basic levels – as highlighted in several international human rights documents as well as national legislation, including constitutions (see, for instance, the Constitution of the Republic of Poland 1997) – everyone has the right to express their views and opinions, and acquiring and disseminating information. This has an impact on diversity in the media. It has been argued for years that media pluralism might be internal (how social and political diversity are reflected in the media) as well as external (structural), which refers to: the existence of a wide range of media outlets, organisations, and services reflecting various points of view, recognizing diverse cultural representations, and offering different ways of interaction and use. (Klimkiewicz 2010, p. 906) The question whether media outlets integrate different opinions or rather choose one particular societal or political view (partisan media) depends on several systemic factors, such as integration between media and politics (political parallelism) and the strength of journalism culture and accountability (professional journalism) (Hallin and Mancini 2004). Media polarisation might be supported by the attitudes and needs of the publics who might want to simply consume that news which is close to their own preferences. Generally, all these conditions are interrelated with the state of democracy and its tradition: a weak political culture together with a lack of critical assessment of media content by members of civil society. In this chapter, we aim to build a multilevel analytical prism, which highlights two basic levels of polarisation processes: the structural and behavioural (see Figure 7.1). On the first level, media polarisation is being investigated in media policy and regulation, decision-making processes regarding market structure, ownership, as well as financing and governing of public service media. Response to diversity of political and societal divisions, which usually become more visible in terms of topics which create discussions and controversies

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LEVEL 1: STRUCTURAL FOUNDATIONS OF MEDIA POLARISATION Media policy Market structure and ownership Governance Financing


LEVEL 2: BEHAVIOURAL FOUNDATIONS OF MEDIA POLARISATION Biased reporting Media tribes Enemy creation Acts of aggression FIGURE 7.1 Levels

of media polarisation

(Source:  the authors).

(political agenda, social issues), might be further manifested in journalistic actions and behaviours. This second level of media polarisation analysis accounts for examples of biased reporting, emergence of media tribes, enemy creation, undermining journalistic ethics and competences, as well as acts of aggression (hate speech and physical aggression). By mapping different layers of media polarisation processes, we argue that sometimes these are very much interrelated. We also bear in mind that the intensity of polarisation processes might vary based on topics and the nature of conflict: the bigger divergence of opinions, the higher polarisation emerges. Looking at media polarisation as a process also reflects that it might be ad hoc or long term.

Methodology In this chapter, we argue that the current state-of-the-art of Polish journalism calls for advanced concepts and frameworks to fully understand media-political

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relations. Before we test two levels of media polarisation in Poland, we first aim to explain the origins of societal and political divergence. An examination of the current political agenda and the nature of contrasting opinions that divide society into ideological groups and tribes helps to build on our case studies related to structural and behavioural layers of media polarisation. Examples of media polarisation were chosen by considering two factors: •• ••

the explicit structural partisanship of particular media outlets (from the mainstream of the Polish media system); the political and social importance of named events as covered by those media outlets.

In the first phase, we identified media outlets openly taking pro- or anti-governmental (and pro- and anti-Law and Justice) positions. Concerning the second stage, our intention was to focus on relevant political and social events from the period 2015–2018 with the highest conflict-generating potential. This conflictgenerating potential of named events also refers to the involvement of journalists from the media outlets in internal “fights” within the journalistic community (mostly competing journalistic associations). Identification of media outlets and events was supported by recent publications and reports, both when it comes to qualitative studies (see, for instance, Dzięciołowski 2017; Freedom House 2017a) and empirical evidence of media performance (see, for instance, KRRiT 2016). We are aware that the lists of both structural foundations and journalistic behaviours maintaining societal and political (and in consequence also media) polarisation are incomplete and that the case studies introduced need further empirical evidence. Our main aim, however, is to test and present indicative findings as well as to open up a discussion on media accountability.

Poland: polarisation of society, polarisation of politics At the historical level, Bilon et al. (2016) argue that there have been two coexisting narratives about the effects of the transformations of 1989. Several authors explain that the optimism towards the liberal shift was dominant at the initial stage of societal, cultural and political change. Multiplication of the political groups that entered the Polish political scene has soon become a subject of labelling them into two groups: “pro-democratic” and “anti-communist” form one group, and the democratic continuation of the previous socialist regime is the other (Grabowska 2004). This so-called classical distinction of “right-wing” vs. “left-wing” has contributed to the discourse related to the negative effects of transition and soon became an important subject in the election campaigns of the 1990s. Left-wing politics and societies usually emphasised social inequalities typical in capitalism, growing diversification of incomes and living standards, social exclusion and growing poverty rates in some social groups, etc. Rightwingers usually concentrated more on criticising the privileged position of

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selected members of former communist elites or the negative (in their opinion) influence of the liberal economy on morality, family and religious life of Polish society (Grabowska 2004). This asymmetry between the two main “narratives” started to collapse in the period of 2005–2007, when for the first time the right-wing-oriented PiS formed a coalition government with the far-right of the League of Polish Families (Liga Polskich Rodzin) and the populist Self-Defence of the Republic of Poland (Samoobrona). The pessimistic narrative about the outcomes of the post1989 era has moved to the mainstream of Polish politics (Stępińska et al. 2017). The process of splitting society into anti-communists and liberals (central political parties) has become more visible since the plane crash in Smolensk, in 2010, in which President Lech Kaczyński and 95 others died. Although united immediately after the tragedy, Polish society has since become divided in searching for potential causes of the plane crash. The coalition of the Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska, PO) and the Polish People’s Party (Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe, PSL) was accused of having too close ties with Russia as well as reacting poorly to and investigating insufficiently the plane crash. Reaction to the tragedy reflected the controversial opinions on the political agenda, which was of great importance as Lech Kaczyński was the twin brother of Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of PiS. The presidential and parliamentary elections of 2015 are paradigms of societal and political polarisation. For the first time in the post-communist era, leftwing-oriented parties did not make it to the Parliament. The Law and Justice party collected more than 50% of the seats and formed the majority government of PiS. Earlier the same year, Andrzej Duda won the presidential election – supported by PiS. Reforms introduced by the new government in late 2015 and early 2016 were radical steps against the previous post-1989 agenda. The list of controversial regulations, including changes in Constitutional Court, judiciary, civil service, education system and public service media governance, has brought people on the streets to protest both for and against the government in the city of Warsaw and beyond – and resulted in the formation of the Committee to Protect Democracy (Komitet Obrony Demokracji). The list of other controversial topics that resulted in societal protests included plans to restrict the abortion law (2016), changes of the Supreme Court (2017) and press freedom. The protests of winter 2016 were regarded as one of the most serious political crises in the post-1989 era. In addition to this, Polish society has become divided in the face of the “migration crisis” as the government refused to accept refugees, as well as the lack of Polish support when electing the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, former Prime Minister of the PO/PSL government. Overall, changes in the Polish political scene have gathered attention by international organisations and tools that are to monitor fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. Bodies, such as the Venice Commission, European Parliament and European Commission, have raised alarming signs about the state of Poland’s democracy. One of the most powerful examples has been the EU procedure

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concerning Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, with a potential scenario related to loss of voting rights in the EU and the cessations of funds in the next EU budgetary cycle. Some commentators called it “the most aggressive act against a member state in the EU’s history” (Hutton 2018). All of this has impacted on the position of Poland in freedom rankings. For instance, the Freedom in the World 2017 ranking (Freedom House 2017a) places Poland into the group needing special attention. In the same year, Poland experienced the biggest press freedom shrinkage in the world, moving from “free” to “partly free” media systems (Freedom House 2017b). This trend has also been noted by Reporters Without Borders, who evidenced that press freedom in Poland declined from the 18th position in 2015, to 47th in 2016, to 54th in 2017 (Reporters Without Borders 2017).

Media polarisation in Poland Structural level of media polarisation The Polish media market was created on the foundation of the press freedom principle, which resulted in a variety of media. For instance, in radio and TV, making the market more accessible to private media players happened at nearly the same time as the state broadcasters transforming into PSM. The external pluralism from the early 1990s and onwards has been seen mostly in terms of PSM’s political ideology and bias, which, due to politics’ involvement in governance processes, has never been fully independent from the government, regardless of political ties (Dobek-Ostrowska 2012). While the previous government was reluctant to introduce changes in governance and financing processes of PSM (including citizen-driven initiatives supported by culture creators), the Law and Justice party has made a successful attempt to reform public service media in the first three months of its government. Regulations from December 2015 and January 2016 gave the Treasury Ministry the right to nominate Director Generals of TVP and Polish Radio. Then, in June 2016, the Act on the National Media Council was passed, forming a completely new body for PSM issues. The politically appointed National Media Council could be regarded as being opposed to the Polish Constitution as it might have undermined the tasks and competencies of the National Broadcasting Council (Klimkiewicz 2017). Changes in PSM governance have further resulted in over 100 PSM employees being replaced by right-wing oriented journalists (Piechota 2017). The rise of media oriented to the conservative right, as an alternative to liberal mainstream media, dates to the first Law and Justice government (2005– 2007). Some of the media outlets, including magazines Do Rzeczy and W Sieci and daily newspapers Nasz Dziennik and Gazeta Polska Codziennie, as well as TV and radio stations (TV Republika, TV TRWAM, Radio Maryja) and online news media (niezależ, have demonstrated their support for the Law and Justice party. Most of them have ownership connections with individuals and

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business organisations close to people active in PiS (political parallelism). The government formed in 2015 has changed the way in which advertising of public agencies and state-owned companies is distributed. The government favoured institutions representing the right wing of the media sector. Some of them have also received additional support in form of grants from public institutions (e.g. Radio Maryja), subsidies or public procurements from particular ministries or state agencies (“Gazeta Polska” i “W Sieci” dużo więcej z reklam... 2016). Additional support from the state budget was also given to the PSM. As a response to unsuccessful reforms of the licence fee system as well as shrinking audiences and advertising incomes, the government decided to activate some extra funds, in the form of loans and compensations. By contrast, advertising of state-owned agencies was removed from other newspapers, including Gazeta Wyborcza. This is one of the biggest of Poland’s newspapers, which has adopted an anti-government approach and become one of the most critical voices of the Law and Justice government. Since 2016, the ruling party has revealed plans for media reform over media concentration in Poland. The narrative of a so-called limitation of foreign media ownership – and sometimes “re-Polonisation of the media” – has been designed to address crossmedia and horizontal concentration of German, French, Swedish and American media groups, which might further result in additional changes to the market structure (Klimkiewicz 2017).

Behavioural level of media polarisation The high level of external pluralism, alongside the political, societal and journalistic divergence, has made media polarisation visible also when accounting for the level of media actions. Contrasting opinions regarding the government agenda and the rise of the anti-government movements were reported differently, often in a form of biased reporting. These distinctions were noted in 2016 by the National Broadcasting Council, which stated that Wiadomości (the main news programme at TVP1) shows the monocentric world, narrowed down to the political sphere, with strong tensions between the power and the political opposition (...) There is a strong tendency to build a sense of threat from external forces (immigrants, Russia) as well as internal (opposition, previous government) which in total creates the image of the world as a double-besieged fortress. (KRRiT 2016) Although noting that private TVN’s Fakty programme reports in more polycentric and diverse ways, KRRiT argues that there is a lack of neutrality of the presented position – visible suspicion, and even aversion to politicians from the ruling party (...) The power

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representatives are often presented in a negative way as unworthy, unreliable and not always with pure intentions. (KRRiT 2016) More recently, in late 2017, the National Broadcasting Council, appointed the previous year with a PiS majority, fined the privately owned TVN (the parent company is US American) 1.5 million Polish zloty ($310,000) because TVN “propagated illegal activities and encouraged behaviour threatening security” in the parliamentary crisis and demonstrations of winter 2016. As a response, the decision by KRRiT was seen internationally as raising fears for press freedom (Davies 2017; Reuters 2017). The US Department of State issued a special press statement, emphasizing that “this decision appears to undermine media freedom in Poland, a close ally and fellow democracy” (US Department of State 2017). Changes in PSM’s governance, the rise of right-wing-oriented media outlets and the growing criticism of the PiS government by some private media have made traditional distinctions of journalism communities even stronger. The growing polarisation of journalism communities was already visible in 2012 when the creation of the right-wing-oriented Societal Commission for Media Ethics (Obywatelska Komisja Etyki Mediów) aimed to defend professional standards of journalism. Additionally, opponents of the Law and Justice government formed the Society of Journalists (Towarzystwo Dziennikarskie, TD), with the hope of “creating a platform for the exchange of views, shaping and promoting high standards of journalism and the defence of freedom of speech” (Towarzystwo Dziennikarskie 2012). We argue that biased reporting together with structural market changes has resulted in the emergence of “media tribes,” radical actions often connected with seeing “the other” side of the ideological world as an enemy. The most visible examples of such mechanisms include the harsh relationship between PSM and the national daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza. On the one hand, there have been examples of TVP accusing Gazeta Wyborcza of supporting anti-government protests and being a hub of “unmitigated opposition.” Frequently, TVP has also referred to ethical standards, staff cuts and the decreasing sales of Gazeta Wyborcza (Dramat dziennikarzy Gazety Wyborczej 2016). On the other hand, Gazeta Wyborcza often portrays TVP as a propaganda tool of the current government, accusing public television managers of servilism as well as nepotism and wastage of public money. From time to time, both media organisations threaten lawsuits against each other (TVP zapowiada pozew przeciwko Agorze… 2018). The emergence of “media tribes” and “enemy” creation processes have led to even more dangerous events and cases of violence and aggression towards journalists, especially during anti-governmental or pro-governmental manifestations. Recent years have brought several examples of such attacks, with journalists from different media outlets (TVN, Gazeta Wyborcza, TVP) being the victims. Negative emotions and “enemy” creation patterns are also visible in the virtual sphere. Mutual attacks from representatives of anti- and pro-governmental media,

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frequently with elements of hate speech, are observed regularly. Journalists are frequently attacked not only by Internet trolls but also by their colleagues from other, rival media outlets. Recently, social media, especially Twitter, became a very important arena for such “fights,” with exchanges of aggressive tweets between journalists representing both sides of the conflict. One of them has been the exchange of tweet feuds between two Berlin correspondents: Cezary Gmyz (@cezarygmyz) from public TV and Bartosz Wieliński (@Bart_Wielinski) from Gazeta Wyborcza. The open fight between media tribes is also reflected by social media behaviours of politicians. For instance, one of the parliament members of PiS, Krystyna Pawłowicz, accused the National Broadcasting Council of tolerating unreliable relations in the program and she further called for revoking the broadcasting licence granted to TVN (Krystyna Pawłowicz apeluje... 2017). As a response to international criticism and against politicians’ willingness, the National Broadcasting Council revoked the fine imposed on TVN. In a statement dating from 2018, Witold Kołodziejski [Chairman of KRRiT], noting the extraordinary importance of the problem of brutalisation of public life, growing aggression directed against journalists, propagation of hate speech and disinformation of the so-called fake news, announced the creation of the Round Table at the National Broadcasting Council with the participation of journalistic and scientific communities, but above all with the active participation of broadcasters. The Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council stressed that freedom of speech means responsibility for them and therefore a need to jointly develop self-regulatory forms in the media becomes so urgent. (KRRiT 2018)

Conclusions In this chapter, we have argued that current conditions for media and journalism development in Poland call for an advanced analytical framework. Referring to recent changes in politics and society – often described through the lenses of societal and political polarisation – our aim has been to examine the role of the media when reflecting on and fostering the societal and political divergence in Poland. In this concluding section, we argue that structural and behavioural levels of media polarisation create difficult conditions for professional journalism and media accountability development. Polish journalists have always been divided according to their political ties. The high level of external media pluralism, strong media-political relations, the rise of partisan media, the lack of effectiveness of the Council of Media Ethics and journalists being more prone to media regulation rather than self-regulation have questioned the role of media accountability. Indeed, when meeting contrasting and controversial opinions, media

112  Michał Głowacki and Michał Kuś

have become too weak to defend the basic principles, related to mitigation of conflicts, tolerance, independence and serving society. Ideological and political divergence has resulted in a multiplication of ethical standards and norms, which have been adjusted and assigned by different journalistic communities as another tool to fight against each other. Consequently, media contribute substantially to the crisis of societal cohesion and a growing polarisation of attitudes towards main political and social issues. Supporting certain political positions seems to be an effective way of attracting politically polarised audiences as well as politicians who might want to use the media as a tool to gather public support. This, in turn, connected with the weakness of civil society and the additional set of professional challenges in the online space (fake news, hate speech, filter bubbles), makes the “vicious” circle of Polish media accountability go around. Moving forward, one of the conclusions that could be drawn from our indicative study is that the high level of structural media polarisation, combined with weak media accountability, might open the door for the polarisation of journalistic behaviours. We have also learnt that the nature of the conflicts and the political agenda supported by populist groups might put media accountability on hold. This has also recently been the case in other countries from central and eastern Europe, including Hungary. Bearing in mind that populist voices and media divergence have just started to play a role also in those countries where media accountability is regarded as being stronger (see, for instance, Austria, Germany, the USA), the question that remains is: how far can the divergence go? Is there any opportunity to reflect on ethical standards to make them work in practice? The invitation by the Chairman of Poland’s KRRiT to establish a round table on self-regulation could be a positive step. However, the quality of professional journalism will highly depend on the quality of democratic conditions and people demanding independent and free media. Examples from Poland have evidenced that media polarisation is likely to develop, once freedom of the press is limited and media does not serve its basic democratic roles. We suggest testing the framework of media polarisation analysis and to apply it to other systems of media accountability. We argue that our indicative study needs to be further supported by empirical evidence on journalism practice (both online and offline), to fully contribute to discussions on the critical importance of self-regulation and democracy in Poland and beyond.

References Abramowitz, A. I., and Saunders, K. L., 2008. Is polarisation a myth? The Journal of Politics, 70 (2), 542–555. Bajomi-Lázár, P., 2014. Party Colonisation of the Media in Central and Eastern Europe. Budapest: The Central European University Press. Bilon, A., Kurantowicz, E., and Noworolnik-Mastalska, M., 2016. Community development: (Un)fulfilled hopes for social equality in Poland. In: M. Shaw and M. Mayo, eds. Class, Inequality and Community Development. Bristol: Policy, 137–152.

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Bromwich, J. E., 2017. Social media is not contributing significantly to political polarisation, paper says. Available from: https://www.nytimes. com/2017/04/13/us/political-polarisation-internet.html Carlsson, U., ed., 2016. Freedom of Expression and Media in Transition. Gothenburg: Nordicom. Available from: Council of Europe, 1950. European Convention of Human Rights. Available from: http:// Davies, C., 2017. Polish regulator fines US-owned broadcaster over protests coverage. Available from: poland-media-regulator-fines-broadcaster-tvn-sa-protests-coverage Dobek-Ostrowska, B., 2012. Italianisation of the Polish media system? Reality and perspective. In: D. C. Hallin and P. Mancini, eds. Comparing Media Systems beyond the Western World. New York: Cambridge University Press, 26–50. Dobek-Ostrowska, B., Głowacki, M., and Kuś, M., 2018. Poland: accountability in the making. In: S. Fengler, T. Eberwein and M. Karmasin, eds. The European Handbook of Media Accountability. London and New York: Routledge, 190–196. Dramat dziennikarzy Gazety Wyborczej, 2016. Available from: https://wiadomosci.tvp. pl/28115596/dramat-dziennikarzy-gazety-wyborczej Dzięciołowski, K., 2017. Is There a Chance for Non-Partisan Media in Poland? Oxford: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Available from: https://reutersinstitute. non-partisan%20media%20in%20Poland%20-%20Krzysztof %20Dzieciolowsk%20 Paper.pdf Freedom House, 2017a. Populists and Autocrats: The Dual Threat to Global Democracy. Available from: Freedom House, 2017b. Press Freedom’s Dark Horizon. Available from: https:// “Gazeta Polska” i “W Sieci” dużo więcej z reklam, najbardziej w dół “Polityka” i “Tygodnik Powszechny,” 2016. Available from: Głowacki, M., 2013. Dziennikarze polscy w świetle studiów porównawczych systemów odpowiedzialności mediów w Europie. Studia Medioznawcze, 1 (52), 29–44. Głowacki, M., 2017. Poland: a country of contradictions. In: P. Bajomi-Lazar, ed. Media in Third-Wave Democracies. Southern and Central/Eastern Europe in a Comparative Perspective. Budapest: L’Harmattan, 164–181. Głowacki, M., and Kuś, M., 2012. How much media accountability and transparency in Bulgaria, Poland and Serbia? A comparative approach to online innovations. Media Transformations, 7, 36–57. Głowacki, M., and Urbaniak, P., 2011. Poland: between accountability and instrumentali­ sation. In: T. Eberwein et al., eds. Mapping Media Accountability – In Europe and Beyond. Cologne: Halem, 131–141. Grabowska, M., 2004. Podział postkomunistyczny. Społeczne podstawy polityki w Polsce po 1989 roku. Warsaw: Scholar. Hallin, D. C., and Mancini, P., 2004. Comparative Media Systems. Three Models of Media and Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hutton,W., 2018. Beware the illiberal alliance of Poland and Hungary, a grave threat to the EU. Available from: jan/07/hungary-poland-had-enough-of-liberal-democracy-eu-must-act?CMP=share_ btn_tw

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Isenberg, D. J., 1986. Group polarisation: a critical review and meta-analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50 (6), 1141–1151. Jakubowicz, K., 2008. Riviera on the Baltic? Public service broadcasting in postcommunist countries. In: B. Dobek-Ostrowska and M. Głowacki, eds. Comparing Media Systems in Central Europe. Between Commercialisation and Politicisation. Wrocław: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego, 41–54. Jakubowicz, K., and Sükösd, M., eds., 2008. Finding the Right Place on the Map. Central and Eastern European Media Change in a Global Perspective. Bristol: Intellect. Klimkiewicz, B., 2010. Introduction: structural media pluralism. International Journal of Communication, 4, 906–913. Available from: viewFile/789/465 Klimkiewicz, B., 2017. State, media and pluralism: tracing roots and consequences of media policy change in Poland. Publizistik, 62 (2), 197–213. Available from: https:// Konstytucja Rzeczpospolitej Polskiej [Constitution of the Republic of Poland] 1997 KRRiT, 2016. Wyniki monitoringu audycji informacyjnych. Available from: http://,2252,wyniki-monitoringu-audycjiinformacyjnych.html KRRiT, 2018. Przewodniczący KRRiT uchylił decyzję z 11 grudnia 2017 r. w sprawie TVN i zapowiedział stworzenie Medialnego Okrągłego Stołu. Available from: http://www.krrit.,2600,przewodniczacy-krrit-uchylil-decyzje-z-11grudnia-2017-r-w-sprawie-tvn--i-zapowiedzial-stworzenie-me.html Krystyna Pawłowicz apeluje do KRRiT o zakazanie emisji “Faktów” TVN. “Rada się nie boi, Rada czeka na dobre prawo,” 2017. Available from: artykul/krystyna-pawlowicz-apeluje-do-krrit-o-zakazanie-emisji-faktow-tvn-radasie-nie-boi-rada-czeka-na-dobre-prawo Kuś, M., 2011. Poland: Waiting for Citizens to Demand Online Media Accountability. MediaAcT Working Paper 8/2011. Available from: fileadmin/user_upload/WP4/WP4_Poland.pdf Marozzo, F., and Bessi, A., 2018. Analyzing polarisation of social media users and news sites during political campaigns. Social Network Analysis and Mining, 8 (1). Nygren, G., and Dobek-Ostrowska, B., eds., 2015. Journalism in Change. Journalistic Culture in Poland, Russia and Sweden. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. Pew Research Center, 2014. Political Polarisation in the American Public. Available from: http:// Piechota, G., 2017. Digital Media Report: Poland. Available from: http://www. Polarisation, 2017. Cambridge Dictionary. Available from: https://dictionary.cambridge. org/dictionary/english/polarisation Polarisation, 2017. Oxford Dictionary. Available from: https://en.oxforddictionaries. com/definition/polarisation Reporters Without Borders, 2017. 2017 World Press Freedom Index. Available from: Reuters, 2017. Poland slaps $415,000 fine on TVN24 over coverage of protests in parliament. Available from: ine-on-tvn24-over-coverage-of-protests-inparliament-idUSL8N1OB4OZ Sartori, G., 1976. Parties and Party Systems: A Framework for Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Stępińska, A., et al., 2017. A fourth wave of populism? In: T. Alberg et al., eds. Populist Political Communication in Europe. London: Routledge, 311–325. Szot, L., 2010. Main professional dilemmas of journalists in Poland. In: B. DobekOstrowska et al., eds. Comparative Media Systems. European and Global Perspectives. Budapest: The Central European University Press, 209–232. Towarzystwo Dziennikarskie, 2012. Statut stowarzyszenia Towarzystwo Dziennikarskie. Available from: TVP zapowiada pozew przeciwko Agorze za tekst o Sylwestrze w Zakopanem. “Niechlujna próba szkalowania,” 2018. Available from: tvp-zapowiada-pozew-przeciwko-agorze-za-artykul-o-sylwestrze-w-zakopanemniechlujna-proba-szkalowania US Department of State, 2017. Poland: National Broadcasting Council’s fine on TVN24. Available from: Ustawa o Radiofonii i Telewizji [Broadcasting Act] 1992. Wanta, W., 2008. Fox News and the polarisation of attitudes in the U.S. Central European Journal of Communication, 1 (1), 111–122. Zasady etyki dziennikarskiej w Telewizji Polskiej S.A. Available from: repository/attachment/0/e/e/0eea386c0fa98ad0c49f 73f1a9f 7c8e71445347977947. pdf Zielonka, J., ed., 2015. Media and Politics in New Democracies. Europe in a Comparative Perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Economic and organisational challenges

8 SELLING SHORT MEDIA ACCOUNTABILITY? The importance of addressing market-driven claims of media freedom Andrew T. Kenyon, Eva-Maria Svensson and Maria Edström

Introduction Accountability is an important implication of the democratic rationale for free speech. Democratic forms of government are commonly said to frame power and hold it to account, in part through mediated speech. Public speech is not just directed by those with power, nor is it subject only to prevailing social powers, but it does, at least in part, interrogate those with power (Kenyon et al. 2017, p. 32). We approach the value of media accountability as being twofold: the media’s ability to be accountable in relation to their stakeholders, and the media’s obligation to seek to hold the powerful to account. The former relates to the trustworthiness of the media, the latter to journalism’s democratic function. But the two are closely related, and both feature in work on accountability (for accountability to stakeholders see, for instance, Bardoel and d’Haenens 2004; von Krogh 2008; de Haan and Bardoel 2011; von Krogh 2012; Fengler et al. 2014a; Svensson and Edström 2016; for holding others to account see, for instance, McQuail 1997; Fenton 2014; Svensson and Edström 2016; Kenyon et al. 2017). This chapter considers market-driven claims of media freedom that might have negative impacts on media accountability, and suggests the two aspects of media accountability should be addressed together so that accountability is recognised as being deeply connected with media freedom and not as a threat to it. We have previously described this challenge as a tension between market-driven and democracy-driven freedom of expression (Edström and Svensson 2016). The distinction signifies two ideal types of rationalities and assumptions with the aim of safeguarding freedom of expression. These ideal types are loosely related to the narrower concept set out by McManus in 1994, “market-driven journalism” (McManus 2008), which acknowledges a tension between socially responsible journalism and journalism’s business side.

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Considering both aspects of accountability helps to underline that law already has a role, and that its role should be further considered, in relation to holding media to account and media holding others to account. Although existing research on media accountability does recognise this point, it is perhaps left aside in that work more than is warranted. As noted recently in a major international study of media accountability measures, MediaAcT, which surveyed and interviewed media professionals in Europe “media laws (…) have the strongest impact on standards in journalism, according to media professionals” themselves (Fengler et al. 2014a, p. 280). That is not at all to downplay the importance of many other accountability measures. As the same research showed, a media organisation’s internal culture is a key influence on journalists’ approach to media accountability and addressing that culture offers a useful avenue for promoting better accountability practices. But law is also relevant. Indeed, the wider legal framework is relevant to internal culture. Research has long suggested that a combination of actions across multiple domains is useful in promoting media accountability – actions across political (where research tends to position legal measures), organisational, professional and wider public domains (e.g. McQuail 1997; Fengler et al. 2014a). We support that idea but want to emphasise that, with changing media environments, the role of law is important and perhaps more important than in the past. The democratic rationale for free speech is the most frequently considered rationale within law (Axberger 1984, p. 21; Barendt 2005, p. 20; Bull 2006, p. 334) and is also implicit in much journalism and media research.1 This free speech rationale involves the absence of censorship by the state – or, at least, the careful evaluation of any direct attempts to restrict speech. Is the restriction prescribed by law and necessary in a democratic society for the protection of various recognised ends and so forth? But free speech in a democratic context means more than that. If the goals that free speech is said to serve are to be plausible, multiple diverse voices and viewpoints need to be present in public communication (e.g. Lichtenberg 1990; Gibbons 2012). That is what takes free speech beyond a “naïve pluralism” that assumes more news, more public speech, of whatever style and intent, means more democracy. In such an approach, “[a]bundance comes to stand in for pluralism and for freedom in the same breath” (Fenton 2014, p. 34). That is not what we envisage.We have previously argued the democratic rationale for free speech means that the media should be a diverse forum for debate and, through that diversity as well as the relative absence of censorship (both being dimensions of free speech), the media should be a mechanism for scrutinising the exercise of power (Kenyon et al. 2017). The combination is illustrated in Figure 8.1. The same style of diversity is needed in relation to the accountability of the media, including but not limited to, diverse commentary and analysis of media performance being published in the media itself. Thus, the third important building-block in media freedom, beyond non-censorship and diversity of voice and viewpoint,2 is media accountability, the issue in focus here.3 It has become increasingly difficult to hold media corporations to account (Bardoel and d’Haenens 2004; Fenton 2014) and the media’s ability to operate

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Free speech




FIGURE 8.1 Components

of media freedom

(Source:  the authors).

independently of commercial interests appears to have diminished. The need for renewed reflection on the system of media regulation, including both selfregulation and legislation, has long been recognised, due to challenges facing the media, including greater competition, commercialisation and globalisation, as well as continuing technological and economic change. New global actors, such as Google and Facebook, now dominate much digital public communication and affect the conditions for older forms of the media. Although social media has made public speech more accessible in many ways, it has also drawn public speech into an overwhelmingly market-driven realm of transnational data capture and marketisation. A recent Swedish official report has found that in 2015, Google had 82% of the European search market and nearly 95% of the Swedish search market, with estimated revenues equalling those from all the print ads in Sweden’s daily newspapers (SOU 2016:80, p. 167). In Denmark, the same report claims that Google and Facebook hold a 56% market share of all Danish digital advertising (SOU 2016:80, p. 181). Media’s ability to operate independently of commercial interests is further diminished when contemporary digital platforms are controlled by companies, which are less encompassed by existing national legal or self-regulatory media accountability systems. This is not a new situation but is of increasing significance. As observed more than 20 years ago, “large multinational corporations are not usually very public spirited in distant markets” (McQuail 1997, p. 524). This enlarges the challenges facing the law and self-regulation but does not remove their value. Indeed, moves towards stronger legal measures affecting global media actors are arguably increasing, as illustrated by recent German investigations into Facebook, data and competition (Chazan 2018) and ongoing

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developments at the European level. At the same time, economic pressures make the media industry more vulnerable to market-driven claims or at least more willing to test the boundaries of journalism (Edström et al. 2016). One way in which that can occur is through ‘blurring the lines’ between editorial and advertising content (ibid.).

Media content that challenges media accountability The ability to distinguish between editorial content and advertising is a longstanding core component of both media regulation and self-regulation. The public should easily be able to identify the creator of a media message to be able to evaluate the information given and to support public trust in both the media publishers and their corporate advertisers. There are clear legal obligations in this regard, but the wider aspects of accountability are also relevant. For example, in the EU both legislation (AVMSD Chapter 7, Article 19) and self-regulation (e.g. ICC Code of Ethics, Article 9) prescribe distinctiveness and transparency as to whether content is advertising or editorial, as well as the identity of the instigator or sender of such content. The existence of self-regulatory as well as legal instruments, however, does not prevent the lines between editorial and advertising content becoming blurred, and appearing to do so to an increasing extent. Both digitisation and the crisis of business models have created opportunities for traditional media companies to test new ways of financing editorial content. One concern is with the problematic nature of some of those tests and the lack of transparency and accountability that can be involved. The point can be illustrated by the example of native advertising, a format where the advertiser pays for content that seamlessly blends into the publisher’s own content. The strategy of disguising advertising as editorial content is far from new; advertorials have existed for a long time, but now the collaborations between advertisers and media companies appear to be closer. A famous example from 2014 concerns Netflix paying for a substantial story in The New York Times about women in prisons to promote the TV series Orange is the New Black. The paid post was produced by T Brand Studio, an in-house company for branded content at The New York Times. The collaboration was considered a very successful example for newspapers of how to create revenue by assisting brands with storytelling (International News Media Association 2015) and spurred many other media companies to start similar departments to create paid content (Edström 2015). On one hand, the strategy was a success, but it did appear to have confused the audience as to its origins or intent. Another, more questioned example involved The Atlantic publishing paid content for the Church of Scientology, which, it appears to many readers, looked like an Atlantic article. This led to public debate about the instance of native advertising (Piety 2016), which probably benefitted neither the media outlet nor the advertiser. Collaborations between newsrooms and advertisers take many forms. In Sweden, where new digital intermediaries have clearly challenged newspaper

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advertising revenues (Ohlsson and Facht 2017), the largest tabloid, Aftonbladet, agreed in 2015 to have a tech-reporter based in Silicon Valley financed by a telecommunications company. The collaboration was initially criticised by many journalists and editors, and one year later the financing was withdrawn. A digital “partner zone” is another type of collaboration where users click into a sponsored section at a news site (for more examples, see Edström 2015). Again, the potential for confusion with this approach appears to be relatively low. But in relation to many examples of native advertising, legal scholar Tamara Piety argues that it tends to violate editorial integrity and threatens the value of journalism to audiences: The whole purpose of making advertising look like content is so that advertising will enjoy the credibility of editorial content: but in a world where everything is promotion, the danger is that instead of advertisers gaining credibility, journalism will lose it. (Piety 2016, p. 106) This is a point that parallels work on media accountability; namely, in the current environment for public communication, trust in media has an important commercial value (Fengler et al. 2014a; Painter-Morland and Deslandes 2017). That trust is gained, in part, through transparency over funding sources, which is an important part of media accountability. Diversity of funding sources across media would, similarly, be important for media accountability as a whole. This is one of the potential benefits of continued and substantial funding for public media, which can help to support trust overall, and for various forms of direct and indirect financial support for commercial media (e.g. Schweizer et al. 2014). Furthermore, other actors than journalists could lose the public’s trust through lack of media transparency. Sweden’s advertising industry, for example, has argued that it would also lose public trust if the lines between advertising and editorial content are blurred. Its self-regulatory body, which deals with these new forms of commercial content in an editorial context, is the Advertising Ombudsperson (RO) and the Advertising Ombudsperson Jury (RON). Even in 2015, the Advertising Ombudsperson Elisabeth Trotzig pointed out that the current development was jeopardising trust and credibility, both for the commercial partners and for journalism (Edström 2015). The Advertising Ombudsperson was at that time appalled by the lack of action on the issue from media publishers. Since then, guidelines for native advertising have been formulated both by the media publishers’ organisation (Tidningsutgivarna 2017) and the Swedish association for magazines (Sveriges Tidskrifter 2017). The debate about responsibility and accountability appears to have changed from something that is brought on as an obligation to become something that can be seen as a competitive advantage (Ahlqvist and Borglund 2017). New forms of content creation, such as native advertising, challenge ethical norms for editors and journalists (Edström 2015), as well as audience trust.

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However, new actors in social media also challenge the media accountability system. So-called influencers active on various media platforms (Abidin and Ots 2016), with direct but often non-transparent relationships to commercial funders that affect their media posts, rarely operate within codes of ethics and may well not even be aware of such codes’ existence. The influencers are individuals who have larger groups of followers than many newsrooms. They are just one example of the challenges for the traditional business models where advertising used to be a core revenue generator to finance journalism. When the audience cannot tell the difference between a story from an influencer and one from a news outlet, or perhaps starts to trust the influencer more than traditional media, it becomes even more urgent for media houses to rethink how they can be transparent and accountable. Digital platforms are also developing tools to help influencers to stay credible, as they face somewhat parallel issues to the media on this issue, although without the same tradition of editorial independence. For example, in 2017, Instagram offered the possibility to mark image messages with the sign “Paid partnership with…” (AdAge 2017). The examples given here of blurred lines between advertising and editorial content, and the complexity of the relationships in contemporary media, including those with audiences, suggest that recognising the importance of both selfregulation and legislation for media accountability might assist in crafting better responses to such challenging situations. Either type of measure, alone, appears unlikely to be able to respond well to the multiple complexities involved. At the least, it appears useful to examine what legislation could add to self-regulatory measures.

How may legislation further support media accountability? We noted above that existing work on media accountability does note the issue of law, although we think more could be made of its role. One example that pays quite some attention to law dates from more than 20 years ago when McQuail (1997) addressed the accountability of media to society. He was interested in both mechanisms of accountability and media freedom, and argued for plural, partial forms of accountability as a way of serving both goals. He described a range of accountability interests linked to democracy including publishing diverse views, giving access to significant social voices and promoting citizen participation. In that way, accountability and media freedom are clearly linked. McQuail explicitly addressed the role of law as an accountability mechanism, in particular with regard to protecting the rights of others in terms of reputation, copyright and public order and so forth. But he also referenced law’s role in terms of competition law and “the basic principles and ground rules for the operation of media institutions” (ibid., p. 521). There is an important point to draw from this historic observation: even if there is no specific “press law” in a jurisdiction, there are usually many areas of law that are relevant to the media’s structure, operation and content. Those laws may not be solely concerned with

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media (think of defamation and copyright, for example), but their operation is of great significance to the everyday activities of media. McQuail’s overall position was to prefer voluntary accountability mechanisms, but, importantly, he noted that they may be becoming less viable under contemporary media conditions. In short, “mass media are less inclined to make voluntary commitments to society” (ibid., p. 518) under the constrained conditions in which they operate. He suggests media had become “less able to have any meaningful relationship with their audiences and those whom they affect, less ready to enter into dialogue” (ibid., p. 518). That may well have changed in subsequent decades, although media-audience relationships are not always transparent. Consider, for example, Couldry and Turow’s study on advertising, media and data, which concludes that “big data’s embedding in personalized marketing and content production threatens the ecology of connections that link citizens and groups (…) as members of a shared social and civic space” (Couldry and Turow 2014, p. 1710). The changes separate and individualise the audience, in ways that are far from immediately apparent. In any event, we suspect McQuail’s general point about the challenge of gaining voluntary commitments from (often) transnational commercial operations remains meaningful. Thus, ways in which law is already present and relevant to media accountability should be examined and, at times, developed. Much more recently, Fengler and colleagues undertook a lengthy study of media accountability, focusing ultimately on what journalists could do to assist media’s accountability to its stakeholders as a prerequisite to media freedom. In relation to law, they note that democracies have “detailed legal frameworks for their media industries” and at the European level, there are legal instruments such as the Audiovisual Media Services Directive. There are also competition laws aimed at encouraging a plurality of outlets. Through such measures [l]awmakers seek to foster a heterogeneous media landscape, with a plethora of independent media voices, offering a rich diversity of political opinion, and thus creating a lively public sphere widely considered as essential for a democracy. (Fengler et al. 2014b, p. 15) Again, the pluralism dimensions of free speech are evident here. However, the authors suggest that media content in terms of print journalism is not subject to any specific law, contrasting that situation with broadcasting and stating that print journalism content “is safeguarded from almost any regulation by the state” (ibid., p. 16). While in one sense that is correct, for example, there are not specific laws for the press that are commonplace for broadcasting, the statement overlooks the significant effect of general laws on media content. As noted above, law is already part of the accountability mechanisms for media and, indeed, it is recognised as such within the MediaAcT project. As is reasonably common, in that project legal measures are placed within the political realm. Dobek-Ostrowska et al. (2014,

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p. 151) state “the political frame for media accountability and self-regulation refers to formal intervention, based on media law, regulation and media policy arrangements as well as on informal [routine] relations.” We will return to the positioning of law within the political realm later. Here, the point can be made that laws on defamation, copyright, racial hatred and so forth are not specifically aimed at media publications, but operate in practice in many countries as a significant “regulatory” influence on media content and performance. They might be called a “haphazard” form of accountability. For example, they are generally more open to wellresourced entities than to others, and do not always take account of the media’s democratic roles. They are, nonetheless, a mechanism of accountability. And they sometimes overlap with issues that are typically considered in self-regulatory measures, such as professional codes for journalism. For example, MediaAcT researchers note work that has found “almost all European codes request of journalists ‘truthfulness,’ ‘honesty,’ ‘accuracy of information’ and ‘correction of errors’” (Fengler et al. 2014b, p. 18). In relation to such requirements and law, consider the role of truth in defending defamatory speech: it is not a precise fit with any of those code elements yet that element of law might claim, in ways, to promote truthfulness and honesty in reporting (see Barendt et al. 1997 as well as Dent and Kenyon 2004 for historic research on the influence of defamation law on media content in common law jurisdictions). Equally, one could examine legislative provisions for the publication of replies to media coverage that is critical or defamatory that exist in many countries (Youm 2008). Further, complaints to press councils can be understood as an alternative avenue to legal action for those who believe they have suffered from defamatory or privacy-invading media speech. Both law and press councils offer a potential form of accountability for such content. That said, the detailed ways in which countries protect and promote freedom of expression and its elements differ. As with diversity and non-censorship, accountability can be safeguarded through both legal and self-regulatory mechanisms (Kenyon et al. 2017; Picard and Pickard 2017, p. 30). An EU initiative from 2013, the High Level Group (HLG) on Media Freedom and Pluralism, listed various media policy recommendations to support media freedom and pluralism. The HLG suggested both types of measure: a more proactive use of competition laws to reduce the influence of “media barons” as well as self-regulatory initiatives such as the establishment of independent press councils and greater transparency from media organisations about the standards they sought to meet (Fengler et al. 2014b, pp. 7–8; see also Vike-Freiberga et al. 2013). Notably, however, law was relevant to both competition and self-regulation. The report recommended that press councils be required to exist, by law if necessary, and have real powers of sanction (Vike-Freiberga et al. 2013, p. 21). The response from the media industry was highly critical. In many ways, it was a precursor to the UK media’s response to the Leveson report’s recommendations for a somewhat similar legally reinforced self-regulation (Fengler et al. 2014a, pp. 265–266). In a similar vein to such media responses, the liberal model that is prevalent most clearly in US media and law (with highly deregulated media markets and little direct legal

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control) often appears to be the model for scholarly work. Existing literature often proposes that self-regulation is to be preferred, with some scholars in the US context even restricting the scope of media accountability to “any non-State means of making media responsible towards the public” (Bertrand 2000, p. 107, cited in Fengler et al. 2014b, p. 16). Other authors point to a shift taking place from governmental media regulation towards governance arrangements through self- and co-regulation (see for references de Haan and Bardoel 2011, p. 233). The latter is certainly evident, but the idea that accountability necessarily lies beyond any measures taken by the state would strike most academic lawyers as an unusual claim. In contrast, lawyers might err in the opposite sense by ignoring the importance of everything outside formal law for effective accountability. The underlying concern when analysis seeks to avoid state involvement probably lies with media freedom, in that law can clearly reduce media freedom. That depends on the law in question. But it is incorrect to equate the absence of direct state action with media freedom. Law is also necessary for any meaningful and publicly beneficial media freedom. This broader approach to media accountability involves both self-regulation and legislation, in which self-regulation is viewed as neither an alternative to legislation nor a method of avoiding legislation. The two techniques may operate in somewhat distinct areas, but together aim to support the values of media accountability in a democratic society. In terms of instruments to safeguard media accountability, measures such as ombudspersons, press councils, codes of ethics and so forth, are primarily directed towards the relationship with the media’s stakeholders. There are, in some countries at least, strong traditions of self-regulation in these areas. But the effectiveness of such measures has often been questioned with the perennial concern being that “[s]elf-regulation is designed less to prevent press misdemeanours or to tackle the offenders than it is to deflect the threat of statutory controls” (Phillips et al. 2010, p. 65). In that context, what might be useful to examine is the role that law can play in relation to strengthening such instruments of accountability in practice. For example, as Fengler et al. (2014a, p. 278) note, law might take into account a media entity’s involvement in self-regulation when assessing media defences or other matters in legal actions about media content. But law could also take a more direct role in terms of prompting the creation of self-regulatory bodies through legislative measures. As with legislation that restricts speech, which in democracies is generally subject to constitutional review by courts on free speech grounds, legislation that prompted such self- or co-regulatory measures would be subject to review with the aim of ensuring that it does not undermine media freedom. If courts are relied on in attempting to address legislative restrictions on speech, that is, the non-censorship dimension of free speech, they could also be relied on to evaluate efforts to promote media accountability. A central concern in both instances is free speech’s democratic rationale. In some jurisdictions, courts themselves could even require some such measures under the constitutional protection of free speech (rather than leaving

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all the initiative to legislatures). A version of this can be seen in French constitutional decisions dating especially from the mid-1980s. The decisions (Conseil constitutionnel 1984, 1986) held that media pluralism and transparency of information about media ownership flowed directly from the protection of free speech and freedom of communication under Article 11 of the Declaration of Rights of 1789 (Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen) which has constitutional status (Stone 1992, pp. 173–208; Barendt 2005, p. 69). Article 11 reads: The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious rights of man: every citizen may therefore speak, write and publish freely, except in such cases of abuse of this freedom as shall be determined by la Loi [that is, by legislation]. Article 34 of the French constitution has subsequently been amended and now states that legislation shall determine rules concerning “freedom, pluralism and the independence of the media.” But the exercise of that power remains subject to constitutional review, so the revisions reinforce the Conseil’s approach based on Article 11 of the Declaration of 1789. The Conseil decisions have some weaknesses in practice and the implications of Article 11 might be taken further. Even so, the cases illustrate how free speech itself can promote legal measures that are central to media accountability. They offer an example of law attempting to protect both the diversity of voice and non-censorship dimensions of free speech, and through that media accountability, to support “a democratic and constitutional space” (Bell et al. 2008, p. 163) for public debate. At the same time, the concern for holding non-media power to account could be safeguarded, again probably with instruments other than just self-regulation. Alternative measures could include constitutional protection for access to information, transparency and whistleblower protection (or legislative protection where constitutional provisions are lacking) as well as more specific legislation regarding press subsidies, media diversity and media performance (such as the history of broadcasting content requirements). The role of some of these legal provisions is clearly relevant to both aspects of accountability. Law could address questions of internal media freedom, as self-regulation theoretically could, such as how differences between owners, editors and journalists are treated. This is an aspect of media freedom that has great relevance for accountability. As Barendt notes, employment contracts and legislation would typically offer the starting point for dealing with disputes over editorial lines: Sometimes special undertakings are given, or independent directors appointed to the newspaper directors’ board, to safeguard editorial independence against arbitrary interference or dismissal. The editors’ position (and also that of other journalists) could be safeguarded by legislation, perhaps incorporating terms into their contracts of employment. (Barendt 2005, pp. 441–442)

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Under such an approach, media owners would not “have a free speech right to compel their editors to take a particular line” (ibid., p. 442, see further Gibbons 1992). For matters of internal media freedom, clearly relevant to media accountability, one could imagine law playing a greater role in an approach that would support democratic free speech goals. The above analysis suggests a host of possible actions in the legal realm, the key point being to link analysis of media freedom, including pluralism and accountability, with the evaluation and reform of law. There are varied possible European and state-level actions, many are already underway, including the reexamination and development of the free speech, pluralism and accountability dimensions of competition regulation. But, by way of illustration, we return to the French example that bases requirements for media pluralism and transparency in the right to free speech as, indeed, do some other legal systems such as Sweden (Kenyon et al. 2017). Similar ideas exist but, we would argue, should be further developed in European policy initiatives and law. Concerns for media pluralism and transparency can be seen in a host of initiatives, from the Media Pluralism Monitor project (Valcke et al. 2015; Brogi et al. 2017) to the December 2017 draft recommendation of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers on media pluralism and transparency of media ownership (Committee of Experts 2017). The draft recommendation notes media freedom and pluralism as “crucial corollaries of the right to freedom of expression” and focuses, among other matters, on the importance of transparency about media ownership, organisation and financing, states providing non-discriminatory and transparent financial support to a range of media, and the need to protect the independence of media regulatory authorities. Each of these measures, such as transparency, funding and independent regulators, offer meaningful benefits for media accountability and, importantly for our purposes, in the draft recommendation each arises from the fundamental importance of free speech and counters any purely market-driven understanding of the freedom. The issues can also be seen in European Union law; for example, a requirement for substantial independence of media regulators is an element of the general legal framework relevant to media accountability and has been proposed in efforts to revise the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (e.g. Valcke 2016; Katsarova 2017). At a more basic level, as the report of the HLG made clear, it should be accepted that the European Union itself has competency in terms of media freedom. The report’s first recommendation reads: The EU should be considered competent to act to protect media freedom and pluralism at State level in order to guarantee the substance of the rights granted by the Treaties to EU citizens, in particular the rights of free movement and to representative democracy. The link between media freedom and pluralism and EU democracy, in particular, justifies a more extensive competence of the EU with respect to these fundamental rights than to others enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights. (Vike-Freiberga et al. 2013, p. 3)

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To consider more fully the links between free speech, pluralism and accountability implies that a range of the preceding EU actions would be taken where member states fail to offer sufficient support in their domestic law and policy. Similar issues have emerged in the European Court of Human Rights, which has addressed some positive dimensions of freedom of expression and the obligations they impose on member states, to date perhaps most clearly in terms of the safety of journalists (e.g. Andreotti 2015). But the implications are far wider. As Tarlach McGonagle notes, the European Court has “enunciated that member states are essentially under an obligation to facilitate inclusive and pluralistic public debate” (McGonagle 2015, p. 9), but the effects of that obligation are yet to be developed in many aspects (ibid.). Our analysis would suggest that it should be developed. Media accountability would thus be understood as requiring both legislation and self-regulation, as well as being dependant on the wider context of journalistic and social practices and state policies. Combining legislation and selfregulation is by no means a simple task. The remit and safeguards for each type of instrument need to be considered carefully; otherwise, media accountability would be let down by flawed legislation as much as by flawed self-regulation. The position that we suggest is based on an active state, in line with a notion of “positive” free speech, in contrast to understanding speech merely as a negative liberty, where the state is said to be passive (Kenyon 2014). The idea of an active state to support freedom of expression is perhaps especially emphasised in Germany and the Nordic countries (Hallin and Mancini 2004; Syvertsen et al. 2014), although, among other places, it is also seen in French case law on media pluralism, as noted above. An essential feature in this sort of approach is the understanding of free speech as a common good (Petäjä 2006) having collective dimensions, of central importance to democratic government, and not just as an individual liberty against restriction by the state. Those collective dimensions are also central to the freedom’s links with media accountability. The challenges of using law to support accountability are perhaps seen as too great because of the way in which law is often analysed (outside legal scholarship) within a political realm, as noted above. If law is understood as being situated within institutional politics, and the idea of politicians dealing with media accountability through law raises obvious concerns about media freedom, then it may not be surprising that law tends to be marginalised. But law is more than politicians and their actions. Courts are distinct constitutional actors to legislatures, and how they might act to support media accountability is an issue that can be overlooked by placing law solely within a political frame. We also noted research that has found the internal culture of media organisations is highly influential in terms of how journalists understand and can seek to operationalise media accountability (Fengler et al. 2014a, pp. 267–269). That is, senior news staff have a significant role, but they are subject to pressures quite distinct from the value of accountability, which raises important matters of internal media freedom. In brief, that research suggests senior news staff, if they

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are to promote a culture of accountability, could well benefit from the support of legally recognised internal media freedom. Indeed, we would suggest that combination of circumstances, the importance of newsroom practice and culture combined with the varied pressures on staff, is an example that underscores the value in legal avenues, those that move beyond but support self-regulation, being further explored. Otherwise, the danger appears to be too great that selfregulation in this area will, in relative terms at least, fail. Fenton has observed of media freedom and regulation: Self-regulation has become the sacred mantra associated with the freedom of the press – the only means to ensure governments can’t interfere in, dictate the terms and thwart the practice of journalism. But this denies the influence and power of a corporate culture that wreaks its own havoc and sets its own agenda often far more blatantly than any democratic government would ever dare. (Fenton 2014, p. 37) As Fenton notes, that threatens the democratic freedom of ordinary people most of all, which is what media accountability is, ultimately, aimed at serving.

Notes 1 Two other important rationales are for free speech to be of aid in discovering truth or developing knowledge and to serve people’s interest in self-development or autonomy (Pet äjä 2006). 2 This is the focus of Kenyon et al. (2017). Selected comparisons with the US First Amendment, and German broadcasting law, indicate the value in the Swedish approach but also reveal challenges that it faces if free speech’s dual aspects are not clearly recognised – a danger that some contemporary statements suggests is real. Articulating free speech in terms of both non-censorship and diversity may aid Swedish parliamentary processes to uphold important structural aspects of the freedom, but it would also bring into focus larger questions about the limits of parliamentary processes alone in building a viable system of freedom of expression for the future. 3 See Fengler et al. (2014b, p. 10) arguing that media accountability is a key indicator of media freedom and pluralism.

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Introduction Calls for media accountability have been on increase in the previous years. Several changes in the European media landscape have contributed to this (Eberwein et al. 2018). The unprecedented intensification of competition for audiences and revenue following the expansion of consumer choice within national and transnational media markets has acted as a key catalyst in the process, as it has prompted media organisations to adopt more competitive strategies with significant repercussions on their content, while it has given audiences more choice in their media consumption preferences. Media convergence, the gradual coming together of formerly disparate parts of the communication spectrum, has been enabled by the digitisation of information, as well as the development of a series of innovations which have facilitated fundamental changes in the ways that information is gathered, processed and reprocessed, distributed and consumed (Curran et al. 2012). Media convergence has afforded a context in which formerly clear distinctions between content creators and consumers, broadly defined, have become blurry. Users can now respond to, and interact with, professional providers of information and opinion, though the latter need to make themselves available for this to occur. It is also the case that users themselves can and do generate relatively high-quality media content, which has challenged professional service providers in the news sphere (for this and the following, see Sorsa and Sihvonen 2016). Ideological changes have been central in this process. As van Cuilenburg and McQuail (2003) demonstrate, there has been a shift in the media policy paradigm that has seen an increase in the prominence of consumerist objectives in media policy considerations. Audiences are no longer considered to be passive subjects whose media consumption habits can be controlled by paternalist


Kaisa Sorsa

policies of political and cultural elites, nor will they conform to this role. They are more aware of their increasing power in making choices and want to make their voices heard. Therefore, there is a great potential in the consumers’ (i.e. the audiences’) capacity to monitor the conduct of media organisations. As several authors (Schejter and Han 2011; Martin and Lowe 2014) argue, public service media (PSM) organisations are under increasing pressure to quantify the social, cultural, political and economic output they create through their operations. These changes have resulted in accountability being adopted as a key policy objective for PSM in national media legislation and EU regulation (European Parliament 2008). In 2009, the European Commission adopted a new Communication on state aid for the funding of public service broadcasters with an increasing focus on accountability and effective control at the national level. The Communication also included rules for a transparent evaluation of the overall impact of publicly funded new media services (OJ 2009/C 257/01). In this chapter, we first examine some of the instruments of media accountability currently prevailing in the Finnish and British media cultures with the focus on non-state means and how they can be assessed. The chapter investigates the kinds of accountability issues these instruments raise. Even though the core issue in a media context is the freedom of the press, our hypothesis is that the different non-state means emphasise other issues. Secondly, we will discuss particular problems and challenges of the non-state instruments, and thirdly, we discuss how their mode of operation can be evaluated. Finally, we present strategies and tools, which can help to overcome these challenges.

Contextualising media accountability Accountability can be defined as “a relationship between an actor and a forum in which the actor is obliged to explain and justify his conduct, the forum can pose questions and pass judgement, and the actor may face consequences” (Bovens 2007, p. 452). In broader terms, accountability is the process through which “an organization actively creates, and formally structures, balanced relationships with its diverse stakeholders, empowering these to hold it to account over its decisions, activities and impacts, with a view to continuously improve the organization’s delivery against its mission” (Hammer and Lloyd 2011, p. 30). Jabbra and Dwivedi (1989) list nine types of accountability through which the concept can be investigated: moral, administrative, political, managerial, market, legal/judicial, constituency relation, professional and sociological. Lindberg (2013, p. 209) suggests the defining characteristics of any form of accountability should include five criteria: 1. an agent or institution (e.g. public organisations such as Yleisradio (YLE) and the BBC or private media) that is to give an account (coded A for agent); 2. an area, responsibilities or a domain (e.g. journalism, news provision, TV programmes) subject to accountability (coded D for domain);

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3. an agent or institution to whom A is to give account (coded P for principal); 4. the right of P to require A to inform and explain/justify decisions with regard to D; 5. the right of P to sanction A if A fails to inform and/or explain/justify decisions with regard to D. These defining characteristics may be expressed in various ways but seem to capture the core of the concept. It should be noted at the outset that none of these conditions specifies that these relationships must be formally codified or that the agents and institutions involved are formal institutions or hold a formal office. This taxonomy, however, fails to address the selection of the accountability instrument, whether formal or informal, or state or non-state instrument. Lindberg (2013, p. 209) argues that criteria 1 and 2 combined mean that an identifiable person or office must have some discretionary power over a certain domain, and that domain is subject to accountability. Criteria 3 and 4 together mean that there is another agent or institution with a de facto right to require the agent or institution A to explain and justify decisions and actions with regard to the specified domain (ibid., p. 210). It is not assumed that P is elected or acting necessarily in the public interest. Finally, criterion 5 stipulates the crucial condition of the right for P to sanction A if the request to inform and/or explain and justify actions is not honoured to P’s satisfaction (ibid., p. 210). The media constitutes a common reference point for journalists, policymakers and citizens as they evaluate the ethics of journalism or the quality of news. However, media accountability practices are not immune to changes in the media environment; for instance, the assumed effects of commercialisation of news, uncertainty over the future of journalism and the development of user cultures on the Internet. While changes are likely to happen, it is not quite clear what directions these changes will take. The most tangible new development noted in this report is the “light mobilisation” of users through social networking sites and online discussion boards. We would like to suggest that the transition in the accountability discourse also impacts on the accountability instruments. When accountability was an obligation, the source was based on legislation and top-down governance, as in the case of Finland’s YLE and the UK’s BBC. However, when accountability is perceived to be voluntary, a source of competitive advantage, governance is fragmented, and its direction is bottom-up. Voluntary accountability instruments are suitable to demonstrate an organisation’s accountability to different stakeholders (see, for instance, Elizabeth et al. 2017). Every organisation can choose the accountability instruments which fit its purposes. Nongovernmental organisations, on the other hand, also use their power and they try to force at least powerful multinational companies to be accountable to them. For frontrunner organisations, accountability can become a source of competitive advantage.


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Public value and shared value The output of a media organisation can be assessed through the notions of public value or shared value, which are based on the administrative and managerial types of the accountability discussion. Accountability is a key component of public value. It calls for a continuing dialogue or conversation between public managers and citizens (Coats and Passmore 2008, p. 4). The public value concept was introduced by the Harvard professor Moore in 1995 (Moore 2014). According to Coyle and Woolard (2012, p. 5), Moore’s aim was to change the approach of public administrators who conventionally saw their duty as simply being to follow effectively and efficiently the legislative-based mandates that set out the purposes of public enterprises. This perspective has facilitated a shift in the use of performance management from a measurement of individual inputs, processes and outputs towards a more holistic evaluation of media outcomes: the positive externalities to individuals and the entire society (see Figure 9.1). The key question in the public value discourse is: how can public administrators get the best outcomes for society from the assets and resources with which they have been entrusted? Public value poses three central questions to public managers (Coats and Passmore 2008, pp. 7–9): (1) What is this organisation for (i.e. identifying the purposes the organisation is supposed to serve)? (2) To whom is the organisation accountable (i.e. identifying the key stakeholders of the organisation and their demands)? (3) How does the organisation know if it has been successful (i.e. critical internal assessment of the realisation of the service against the predefined service objectives)? The Creating Shared Value (CSV) approach (Porter and Kramer 2011) has emerged to quantify organisational outcomes in broader terms in private companies. Accountability in this context can be linked to the ideas of moral- and market-based accountability ( Jabbra and Dwivedi 1989). Shared value means corporate policies and practices that enhance the competitiveness of a company while simultaneously advancing social and economic conditions in the

FIGURE 9.1 Key

performance measurement concepts in media organisations

(Source:  the author).

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communities in which the company operates. The CSV approach is mainly utilised in the context of private enterprises. However, it is similar to the public value approach in that it seeks to steer the organisational strategies and behaviour towards the creation of economic value in a way that also creates value for society. To exemplify the different approaches, the following two sections examine the instruments of accountability currently in use in the media cultures of the UK and Finland. The focus will be on non-state accountability. The UK case includes the BBC’s public value framework, and the non-state press self-regulators, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) and IMPRESS. For Finland, we analyse the public service broadcaster YLE’s statutory regulation, as well as the regulation of the Finnish commercial broadcasters through the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The non-state instruments for Finland include the self-regulatory Council for Mass Media (CMM) and Sanoma Media’s internal accountability framework.

Instruments of media accountability: the UK Media accountability in the UK has historically been maintained mainly through non-state instruments, as the concepts of freedom of press and speech have been considered supreme and any potential attempts to jeopardise these constitutional freedoms have been treated with utmost apprehension. The situation is different in Finland, where the content of commercial broadcasters is de jure monitored and regulated by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, but closer scrutiny of journalistic content is carried out by the CMM with little regulatory intervention from the Ministry in this respect (see e.g. Sihvonen 2014).

BBC’s accountability instruments The UK operates a binary system of statutory and self-regulation. The BBC’s accountability is monitored by an independent governing body, the BBC Trust, set up by a Royal Charter to oversee the BBC’s activities. Several sections of the Code are exempt from Ofcom’s regulatory powers and are respectively monitored by the Trust. The Trust is responsible for approving the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines. These Guidelines are the key foundation for the maintenance of high editorial standards in everything broadcast or produced by the BBC. They cover a range of standards including impartiality, harm and offence, accuracy, fairness, privacy and dealing with children and young people as contributors. Complaints for the breach of the Guidelines are dealt with by the Trust. In the 2016 Charter Review of the BBC, however, it was announced that the regulatory oversight of the BBC would be transferred to Ofcom, the regulator for audio-visual communications. The BBC has also been a pioneer, since 2004, in implementing accountability that extends to all its operations through the implementation of its public value


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framework (PVF) (Coyle and Woolard 2012, p. 5). In its Building Public Value manifesto (BBC 2004), published in the run-up to its Royal Charter renewal, the BBC proposed that its governing body would apply a test of public value to all the BBC’s activities to assess what the BBC should and should not do. The set of measures used in this process included reach, quality, impact and value for money, as well as the economic value and potential market impact. In concord, the BBC began to develop a general performance framework for all its services. This framework included four “drivers” of public value in the framework: audience reach, quality, impact and value for money. Some of the performance measures linked to these drivers were carried forward from previous performance systems that had existed within the BBC for many years, while others were developed specifically for the framework (Coyle and Woolard 2012, p. 61). Although the PVF employed by the BBC is in place to increase the accountability of the organisation, the PVF’s design and implementation pose a significant obstacle for the promotion of accountability in public value delivery. The BBC generally acknowledges that there is a significant case for improvement in its accountability: for instance, the BBC has acknowledged that it “has historically been rather closed as an institution” (BBC 2004, p. 19). In assessing openness and transparency of the BBC, the BBC Trust concluded that “the BBC could do much more to demonstrate a commitment to ‘setting new standards’” (BBC 2013, p. 30) with this regard. The Work Foundation expressed concerns with the BBC Trust’s public value framework, stating that “methods of public engagement can be distinguished according to whether they are primarily concerned with legitimating an organisation’s decisions and activities, and/or evaluating and improving the services they provide” (Coats and Passmore 2008, p. 54). They also suggest that such methods “vary greatly in the intensity with which they engage the public” (ibid.). The key problem here lies in the design of PFVs such as the one employed by the BBC. PSM organisations traditionally considered themselves to be accountable primarily for their political administration, rather than their primary stakeholders, which are the audiences.

Accountability instruments of the press In stark contrast to the rigid statutory frameworks of broadcast media regulation, accountability of the press in the UK has historically been promoted through much more less intrusive self-regulatory instruments. First attempts to introduce a mechanism for press regulation in the UK date back to 1953 when the General Council of the Press (renamed the Press Council in 1962) was founded. After failing its duty in maintaining journalistic standards, a new self-regulatory body, the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), was set up in 1990. The PCC, however, held no real sanctioning powers, and was impotent in maintaining press accountability. The third step was the creation of the Press Recognition Panel, a body fully independent from the press industry, which licensed the press self-regulation organs.The first regulator was the IPSO in 2014. IPSO’s Editors’ Code of Practice and approach to

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dealing with complaints were mostly inherited from the PCC, and therefore did not mark a radical departure from the previous regime. However, IPSO appears to have suffered from the problems its predecessors encountered. The director of the Media Standards Trust, Martin Moore, told The House of Lords Select Committee of Communications that IPSO’s failures “were really fundamental, with regard to independence, arbitration and complaints” (The Select Committee on Communications 2015, para 97). The lack of independence was questionable as IPSO was being entirely funded by the Regulatory Funding Company, which is dominated by a handful of national and regional publishers that write the rules which dictate what IPSO may or may not do. As Barnett (2016) argues, IPSO’s rules “are therefore written and controlled by the very newspapers it purports to regulate ‘independently.’” In its evidence to the Committee, the National Union of Journalists called for a greater interaction between the public, editors and journalists in the appointment of the Code Committee of the IPSO, as opposed to its current constitution where eight out of twelve members are editors (The Select Committee on Communications 2015, para 99). Further criticism on IPSO by the Press Association (2016) points out that IPSO has never fined a newspaper and it does not have a whistleblower hotline set up for journalists to report breaches of the standards. Another UK press regulator was formally approved and received industry recognition in 2016: IMPRESS. Its members are mainly local publishers and do not currently include publishers of national publications. Yet IMPRESS differs from IPSO in four key aspects. First, it is funded by the Independent Press Regulation Trust instead of the industry organisations, and is therefore free to set its own rules and a Code of Practice independently from industry intervention. Second, IMPRESS can launch an investigation when a code breach is serious or systemic, while breaches of both conditions are required for IPSO to launch an investigation. Third, IMPRESS appointments – from the original appointments panel to the chair, board, complaints and code committee – are independent and transparent.While the board includes members with senior experience of the news industry, it is not dominated by them. Fourth, IMPRESS offers greater protection for whistleblowers, as it is not under control of the industry it is supposed to oversee (Barnett 2016).These characteristics suggest that IMPRESS will be more successful in delivering the recommendations of the Leveson Report (for more details about press self-regulation in the UK, see the chapter by Gordon and Martin).

Instruments of media accountability: Finland In Finland, media accountability is governed through state- and self-regulation. The Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority’s (FICORA) supervisory task is based on legislation that safeguards the diversity and integrity of programmes and ensures that the needs of special groups are taken into account. Two examples from Finnish media companies, YLE (Finland’s national public service broadcaster) and Sanoma Media (a private company), illustrate the instruments of accountability used in Finland.


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YLE’s accountability instruments The accountability of YLE is based on the 1993 Act on Yleisradio Oy. The Act stipulates in Article 12 that YLE is legally accountable to the FICORA. It does not, however, steer the compliance of the YLE’s responsibility to provide public service (YLE Act, Article 7). Accountability of the public service provision domain is to be shown to the Administrative Council of YLE and Finnish parliament, based on the narratives produced by the Administrative Council (YLE 2015, p. 19). Other laws that particularly apply to YLE’s operations include the Act on the Exercise of Freedom of Expression in Mass Media, the Act on Television and Radio Operations and the Criminal Code’s sections on the protection of personal reputation and privacy. Content regulation in Finland is steered by self-regulation. The principal instrument for that is the CMM, a self-regulating committee established in 1968 by publishers and journalists in the field of mass communication. The CMM does not exercise legal jurisdiction: its task is to interpret good professional practice and defend the freedom of speech and publication through its Code of Practice: the Guidelines for Journalists. These guidelines are drafted and approved by the management group of the CMM. In this sense, the Guidelines for Journalists are developed by media professionals, and the monitoring of their compliance is conducted by the CMM. As per the Guidelines, journalists are primarily accountable to the audiences. However, as is the case with the UK IPSO, this self-regulatory instrument is reactive, as the application of guidelines primarily requires the activity of the readers, listeners or viewers. Individuals can file a complaint requesting the investigation of a matter concerning breaches of good professional practice or the freedom of speech and publication. Thus, the CMM’s activities have been criticised by a former YLE journalist, Markku Lehtola (2016), who argues that the CMM’s chairperson’s right to decide which claims need to be taken under investigation is not transparent, as reasons for rejection are not habitually published on the organisation’s web page. The most important voluntary governance instruments, to which YLE is committed, are the Guidelines for Journalists and YLE’s Ethical Guidelines for the Production of Programmes and Content. YLE’s general principles for the production of programmes and content relate to norms such as accuracy, independence, impartiality and plurality of opinions, amongst others. More specific issues in the guidelines focus on the acquisition and verification of information, confidentiality and sources, interviews and the rights of the interviewee, protection of privacy, handling and publishing material related to crimes, quotes and the use of archived materials, correction of errors, advertising and sponsorship operations, handing over materials and pre-election programmes and presentation of candidates. It is the responsibility of the chief editor to monitor that all of YLE’s employees comply with the laws and company-specific voluntary guidelines.

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Since 2013, YLE has been financed by an earmarked tax paid by individuals and companies (the so-called media fee), safeguarding YLE’s independence from the state better than the earlier licence fee model. Now YLE is financed directly by Finnish taxpayers, because the media tax is collected from every citizen and not only those who have a TV. This means that YLE is accountable to the formal principal institutions, which used to fund PSM, and to the other stakeholders – specifically the public and the special target groups of the media. At present, the public is more interested than before the media tax in what kind of programme YLE provides. This is because competition and digitisation make it quite easy for customers to change media – and, on the other hand, the responsible business culture compels both public and private companies to change their accountability culture towards more transparency.

Sanoma Media Finland’s accountability instruments Sanoma Media Finland (SMF), the leading private multichannel media company in Finland, has recently developed and implemented an internal framework for accountability and corporate social responsibility (CSR), which embeds responsibility in all its business practices and decisions. The management board of SMF has understood that its accountability obligation needs to cover social and environmental issues in addition to core issues pertaining to media ethics. Also, SMF’s CSR strategy aims to decrease environmental impacts and develop and monitor their business practices to ensure that the day-to-day business creates a responsible impact. In parallel to SMF’s claims that embracing diversity is a crucial element in the media and learning industry, the enterprise acknowledges its responsibility and influence on society (“brainprint”). SMF has identified through a materiality assessment that it creates value to society in three core ways: first, through the content (societal impact); second, via learning solutions (learning impact); and third, by the innovative use of data (data and privacy impact). The enabling aspects are issues that SMF can fully influence and therefore they constitute the basis of its CSR strategy, ensuring that the day-to-day business creates a responsible impact (Sanoma 2017). The enabling aspects are grouped into six sub-categories that SMF needs to manage, develop and monitor: (1) ethical journalism (editorial integrity, advertising guidelines); (2) environmental management; (3) supply chain; (4) talent and diversity management; (5) privacy and data management; and (6) responsible business practices. The media enterprise is guided by the principles of the Finnish Ethic Committee of Advertising and local Press Councils. Helsingin Sanomat, SMF’s largest newspaper, has basic principles and guidelines for publishing advertisements. Also, SMF has several internal guidelines for journalists, e.g. including “Decision-making about journalistic content” and “Journalistic guidelines about securities trading.” Responsible procurement has been defined in the groupwide Code of Conduct, implemented in 2015, and in the Procurement Policy to ensure transparent and responsible sourcing. SMF has confirmed paper product


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procurement principles for the whole group, requiring that its suppliers procure wood responsibly and consider social concerns. SMF favours suppliers with ISO 14001 certified environmental systems and to mitigate any possible social risks formulated a Supplier Code of Conduct. Last, but not least, SMF has formed an internal Ethics and Compliance Committee to address compliance and ethics issues and to set guidelines (Sanoma 2017).

Discussion and conclusions We have examined several instruments of accountability currently in place in the UK and Finland and identified issues with these instruments. On this basis, we can examine the problems with them in closer detail and demonstrate how the public value and shared value approaches could be used to improve media accountability towards their key stakeholders: the audiences. Finally, we identify some practical tools for accountability measurement and improvement.

Shortcomings of current accountability instruments Recent technological and economic transformations, as well as changes in media usage, have increased the pressure on media organisations to reassess their relationship with their audiences (see, for instance, Eberwein et al. 2018; Väliverronen and Heikkilä 2018). Broadcast media organisations historically operated in oligopolistic markets (Wirth and Bloch 1995; Chan-Olmsted 1997), which were characterised by a low number of actors and high barriers to entry and exit. Advances in media technologies have, however, transformed the basic conditions of these markets towards more competition. Because of these broad and far-reaching changes, audiences have been empowered and no longer act as passive subjects, but active contributors, and, thus, the demand for media accountability is bigger than ever. Against this background, the shortcomings of the current instruments of accountability seem paradoxical. The instruments that are designed for making the organisations more accountable towards the stakeholders have inherent design flaws that hinder or prevent their effective functioning. Compliance of the self-regulatory instruments can be assessed either by using the company’s own instruments (a procedure that often lacks credibility) or by authorising an independent assessor. Company-specific tools are mostly assessed by internal auditing and, in some front-running companies, by using whistleblowing instruments through which complaints can be made anonymously. We have identified typical problems with the non-state instruments, which largely stem from the proximity of the instruments to the industries they are supposed to oversee. The key problems with self-regulation cases observed in this chapter are: (1) businesses do not comply with self-regulation even though they officially say so; (2) the criteria for self-regulation are set by the same institution which supervises the compliance of the scheme; (3) funding of the self-regulation scheme comes from

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the self-regulation organisation members which jeopardise the independence of the scheme; (4) since self-regulation is voluntary, it lacks impact if there is no broad coverage in the sector; (5) many underdeveloped self-regulation instruments lack sanctioning mechanisms. Furthermore, accountability to the actual audiences is missing, as regulatory choices are largely made by small elite groups based on their own guidelines, whose interpretation takes place in a non-transparent manner. This lack of accountability is evident, for instance, in the PVF design of the BBC. This PVF was essentially designed by a small group of specialists and tailored to match the media policy objectives and current perceptions of public value of the political administration. Although audience preferences and perceptions of public value were examined in this process, they only had a secondary meaning in the process. This resulted in a top-down process of small elite groups dictating public value outcomes, rather than engaging the audiences in a meaningful debate in a collaborative way. While the BBC recognises that co-producing public value involves “public explanation, justification and transparent decision making” (Coyle and Woolard 2012, p. 8), it also acknowledges the limits of its current practice: the established lines of accountability for the public enterprise are almost inevitably upwards to politicians or appointed public representatives, rather than to the public directly. Introducing the public value approach puts more emphasis on achieving real downward accountability to citizens (ibid.). As Martin and Lowe (2014, p. 33) note, inadvertent lack of collaboration is antithetical to the public value conception, as public value co-production goes to the heart of public value outcomes in Moore’s strategic triangle. The public’s views and values should be influential in the design of public value strategies.

From reactive to proactive accountability The current implementation of PVFs in public service media institutions is incompatible with the highly competitive media market. Traditional PVFs are static and difficult to change, and represent retrospective yardsticks against which public service media institutions’ success can be measured. After their establishment, PVFs often go relatively unchanged for lengthy periods of time, thus failing to capture the ever-increasing pace of changes of the 21st-century media landscape. As this landscape is in a constant state of flux, it accommodates these static and rigid frameworks uneasily. Instead, PVFs should serve as management tools to direct the corporate strategy that guides every individual corporate process from the grassroots level of content production to macro-level strategy planning.

Need for enabling the regulatory environment The media landscape cannot be managed using either public regulation or selfregulation alone (Sorsa 2009). The application of competition law by the state to prevent a monopoly may ensure media pluralism, but there also needs to be a


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state mechanism to allocate sufficient bandwidth as well, and the regulation of content in certain limited circumstances is needed (e.g. to protect children from sexual exploitation or to protect the reputation of individuals from false accusations) (Puddephatt 2011). The role of the state in regulation (see e.g. Drahos 2017) should, however, be designed to empower and enable the side of the users (OJ 2009/C 175/05), leaving space not only for private rule-making (e.g. selfregulation), but also to innovate the way that media companies sell their goods and services to consumers. There is an increasing emphasis on governance styles that facilitate and enable private regulation, rather than overriding it. Different kinds of approaches to self-regulation include enforced self-regulation, co-regulation, corporate compliance systems, incentive-based regimes, harnessing markets, conferring private rights and liabilities, and relying on third-party accreditation to standards and insurance-based schemes (Parker and Braithwaite 2005; see also Sorsa 2011). Self-regulation relies on legitimate selfinterest on the part of business, which usually reflects a profit incentive. From the lawmakers’ and enforcement authorities’ viewpoint, it is important to assess that the interests of business are aligned with the public interest, and mutual benefits can be reached (see, for instance, Tusikov 2017, p. 345). Media self-regulation in Finland, based on the long history of the CMM, has built a sound position in the field of journalism (Väliverronen and Heikkilä 2018). However, the tradition of self-regulation in the electronic media and telecommunications sector is quite weak.

Practical tools for accountability assessment and improvement One useful tool for assessing and improving accountability capabilities and practices on the company level is the Pathways to Accountability model. It was developed by a non-governmental organisation, the One World Trust, which was set up in 1951 by a cross-party group of UK parliamentarians. Its aim was to further the values of democracy, rule of law and human rights (One World Trust, n.d.). First introduced in 2005, the model has already been used to test over 90 global organisations in various international settings. Accordingly, recommendations for better institutional practice have been developed for NGOs, transnational organisations and intergovernmental organisations. Following extensive consultations with stakeholders, a revised model was introduced in 2011 (Hammer and Lloyd 2011, pp. 9–17). One World Trust’s revised model considers organisational accountability to encompass four components: transparency, participation processes with internal and external stakeholders, an ability to evaluate organisational operations and to learn from others to improve them, as well as the organisation’s complaints and response processes. Each of these components is divided into scored indicators that facilitate the quantification of the degree of accountability. The key benefits of such a scoring system are that it offers a visible and transparent yardstick for accountability, while facilitating a direct comparison of the degree of

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accountability between different types of organisations. It also acts as a managerial instrument in identifying the purposes the organisation is supposed to serve – as well as the key stakeholders of the organisation and their demands. The model aids the organisation during critical internal assessments of its services against the predefined objectives, reflecting the three central problems of accountability as highlighted by Coats and Passmore (2008, pp. 7–9). Many other practical instruments of media accountability are currently being developed in the online space, for example in Finnish media companies (Väliverronen and Heikkilä 2018). A recent inventory by the American Press Institute shows that the process of creating new tools is by no means completed (Elizabeth et al. 2017).

Lessons learned By improving their capabilities to demonstrate accountability, both public and private organisations can produce public value and shared value. Instruments of accountability need to be created bottom-up in a participatory manner, in close liaison with broad stakeholder groups. Furthermore, independent monitoring processes need to be implemented to guarantee the neutrality, impartiality and trustworthiness of the accountability instruments. Finally, an accountable organisation needs to take proactive (as well as reactive) steps to address the needs of its key stakeholders, while delivering its services. It also needs to develop capabilities, organisational culture and practices to nurture its accountability.

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Sorsa, K., 2009. The proactive law approach. A further step towards better regulation. In: J. Tala and A. Pakarinen, eds. Changing Forms of Legal and Non-Legal Institutions and New Challenges for the Legislator. Helsinki: National Research Institute of Legal Policy, 35–70. Sorsa, K., 2011. Kansainvälisen kaupan arvoketjujen sääntely. Yhteiskuntavastuun ja ennakoivan oikeuden tarkastelua [Regulation of Global Value Chains. Examining Corporate Social Responsibility and Proactive Law]. PhD thesis. Turku. Available from: http://www. Sorsa, K., and Sihvonen, M., 2016. Public value and shared value through the delivery of accountability. Paper presented at ECREA Pre-Conference “Media Accountability at the Crossroads,” Prague, 8 November. The Select Committee on Communications, 2015. Communications Committee Third Report on Press Regulation: Where are We Now? London: The House of Lords. Available from: 13506.htm Tusikov, N., 2017. Transnational non-state regulatory regime. In: P. Drahos, ed. Regulatory Theory. Foundations and Applications. Acton: Australian National University Press, 339–353. Väliverronen, J., and Heikkilä, H., 2018. Finland: The empire renewing itself. In: T. Eberwein, S. Fengler and M. Karmasin, eds. The European Handbook of Media Accountability. London, New York: Routledge, 73–79. Van Cuilenburg, J., and McQuail, D., 2003. Media policy paradigm shifts. Towards a new communications policy paradigm. European Journal of Communication, 18 (2), 181–207. Wirth, M. O., and Bloch, H., 1995. Industrial organization theory and media industry analysis. Journal of Media Economics, 8 (2), 15–26. YLE, 2015. Selvitys hallinto- ja ohjausjärjestelmästä. Available from: https://drive. V6ewetZZG9hNGZMem1reEU/view


Regulation and self-regulation: one or both? Quality management as a precondition of media governance Media accountability basically includes all non-governmental instruments for improving media performance (Bertrand 2008, p. 30). At first glance, it therefore seems unusual to achieve an improvement in this area with regulatory standards, since efforts to promote media accountability are usually changed or improved in a preventative manner to avoid regulation (von Krogh 2016, p. 166). However, international media regulation strategies are changing. In Western democracies, in particular, there is a demand for sources of inspiration and recipes for success to change the status quo (Degen and Spiller 2014; Puppis et al. 2015, p. 97ff.). This is due to a fundamental structural change in the media system with characteristics such as economisation, internationalisation and digitisation. Media policy interventions are based on the recognition that the mass media have a decisive function for democracy and influence the development of society as a whole (McQuail 1994, p. 181). The same applies to Switzerland. In the area of media governance (McQuail 2003, p. 91), a semi-governmental “Swiss model” was introduced by the media regulation authority in 2008, focusing on local commercial broadcasters and representing a form of regulated self-regulation (Wyss and Keel 2009, p. 115; Wyss 2013, p. 112). This new approach is characterised by the mandatory introduction of an editorial quality management system (EQMS) to obtain public funding. On the one hand, this hybrid form developed because complete self-regulation proved to be a failure (Fengler 2012, p. 175); on the other hand, the structural situation of the media landscape required a new approach to support journalistic quality. Finally, the media regulator decided to formulate this requirement on the basis of empirical analyses (Bonfadelli and Marr 2007; Wyss 2007).

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In such a co-regulatory system, the public authorities accept that the protection of societal values can be left to self-regulatory mechanisms and codes of conduct. This is exactly the basic assumption of the media governance concept, which implicates the intermediation of the steering and control effort by the state regulation authority and the principle of media autonomy. A central requirement of media governance is the implementation of an EQMS that systematically treats the interests of the stakeholders and functions as an instrument to establish a culture of responsibility and media accountability. Which aspect of such co-regulation is favoured depends largely on the historical (media-)political development of a country (von Krogh 2016, p. 172). Through the provision of empirical knowledge, media studies should provide decision support for the implementation of future regulatory strategies (Dumermuth 2012, p. 10; Wyss 2012, p. 73). In particular, the question of how traditional but also emerging journalistic actors, such as citizen journalists, can be promoted remains unanswered. Could the journalism offered by these actors be publicly supported if the free market is unable to do so? In the following, we plead for government aid based on the existence of a seriously and sustainably implemented EQMS. The following analysis examines whether the previously mentioned ten-year regulatory burden has had a demonstrable impact on the EQMS. Quality assurance itself is an ongoing process with preventive, accompanying and ex post elements. The process of quality assurance is primarily established and driven by the management. It allows for persistent evaluation, in the sense of self-control, to see whether the organisation’s performance (e.g. its programme) meets the goals and standards set by the management in accordance with the broader regulatory framework. On an editorial level, maintaining quality includes all the systematically planned procedures which contribute to determining journalistic production processes or services or improving and adjusting them to previously defined requirements – quality goals. Quality assurance thereby helps to define corrective measures to meet the standards set to overcome deficits. To develop, steer and ensure quality in media companies, suitable management concepts that develop the corresponding structures and create internal guidelines are necessary. Concepts of media quality management exist in various forms: one example is the self-evaluation model of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) which meets the requirements of the Total Quality Management (TQM) philosophy and was considered as the framework for the continuous improvement of organisational quality management (Wyss 2002). The TQM approach defines quality as the goal of a comprehensive management strategy in which all of the individual strategies of the editor-in-chief are aimed at raising quality by developing quality criteria, putting them into practice and maintaining them. In particular, three main goals – comprehensiveness, regularised procedures and performance assessment – mark the TQM approach as a particularly ambitious one. The goal of TQM is not just about meeting standards; the quality management process associated with it is continuous. This presupposes that a media company regularly acquires

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information about its environment, its competitors and customers, and adjusts to the requirements of the relevant stakeholders. Finally, quality management requires a control procedure. An improvement can only be recognised as such if concrete quality goals are formulated at the outset, against which the currently achieved quality standard can be measured.

The regulatory situation in Switzerland: from passive to active? Since Switzerland’s media landscape is small-scale and there are not large enough audiences or sufficient customers in many regions to establish commercially profitable journalistic reporting in the long term, public funds, and thus regulatory measures, are indispensable. Swiss media regulation is about to change. In 2012, a 13-member Media Commission (EMEK) was established, which acts as a permanent expert advisory board for the executive branch. The commission deals with problems at the macro level, for example the peculiarities of the media in the digital age, forecasts of the structure of the national media system for the near future, media financing and public service. In addition, numerous studies have been carried out on behalf of the media regulation authority since 2015, which aim to analyse the performance provided by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation’s public service and derive future regulatory scenarios. This is due to an increasing and still ongoing public discourse about the characteristics and content of the public service. These activities can be seen as indicators of a future shift from a traditionally passive to a more active media policy (Fehr 2015). This turnaround began in 2008, when the regulatory authority, the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM), took a first step in this direction. With the implementation of the new Radio and Television Act (nRTVG), OFCOM has decided to link the licensing and financing of commercial media organisations with the introduction of an EQMS (Wyss and Keel 2009, p. 116ff.). In 2018, 43 private local radio stations and 13 private local television channels wanted to be licensed. The requirements concerning quality assurance do not directly refer to the journalistic quality of a single news story, but to the organisational structures and processes that bring about these programmes. The broadcasters are obliged to establish a quality management system that – with regard to the journalistic production of programmes – includes the following (UVEK 2007, p. 3, Art. 6): 1. quality goals and standards concerning form and content of the programmes. They are to reflect the programming mandate and to specify the goals and standards of the organisation. These goals and standards are to be included in documents such as mission statements, editorial guidelines or editorial handbooks. The goals are to be made known to all employees. They are predominantly related to the quality dimensions relevance as well as diversity of topics, opinions and actors; 2. defined processes that allow for the ongoing control of whether stated quality goals are met. This includes for example briefings, production approval processes and

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institutionalised programme feedback, all related to the previously mentioned goals and standards. Furthermore, the result of this feedback is to be made accessible to all employees; 3. sufficient personal resources to fulfil the programming mandate. As far as human resources are concerned, training to meet the defined programme requirements is to be implemented. Performance reviews with employees and written agreements on goals to be achieved help communicate the quality standards. Licensed broadcasters undertake to have their EQMS checked regularly by external organisations determined by OFCOM. This semi-state model corresponds to the Swiss consensus democracy, in which it can be assumed that regulatory activities will be better accepted if they are linked to self-regulating components (Gottwald et al. 2006).

The potential of quality management systems to strengthen media accountability The editorial management has the task of establishing an organisational culture in which journalists can participate responsibly in relevant editorial decision-making processes (Wyss 2012, p. 260). An EQMS can be understood as an instrument for establishing such a culture of responsibility ( Jarren 2007, p. 141). At present, private media companies are working according to an economic logic of efficiency and profit maximisation, so the implementation of a resource-binding EQMS is not to be expected as a matter of course. In addition, an EQMS is double-edged: journalists perceive it as a professional limitation on an individual level, whereas on an organisational level it leads to greater autonomy against non-journalistic influences (Keel et al. 2018, p. 76). In general, it can be assumed that a seriously implemented EQMS promotes transparent organisational quality objectives, systematic dialogue with civil actors and a commitment to professional self-responsibility (Wyss 2012, p. 257). To achieve these noble goals, the editorial management must first formulate and write down core values and quality objectives in such a way that they can be continuously measured in internal evaluation processes. They should be formalised in the form of a widespread document, which is reviewed at least once a year. This document could, for example, include an editorial charter guaranteeing the independence of the editorial office from any kind of power, be it political, economic or otherwise. A quality mission statement or a quality policy includes professional standards for quality journalism, such as pluralism of opinion, promotion of gender equality, consideration of minorities, promotion of diversity etc. During and after the production process – in the sense of self-regulation – such a document enables journalists, for example in editorial meetings, briefings and acceptance talks, to check whether the performance of the organisation meets these goals and standards. In editorial planning processes for programme

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or personnel development, it helps to narrow down and focus decision options. To control and ensure media accountability in the newsrooms, suitable management concepts are necessary, which develop appropriate structures and create internal guidelines. Understood as an ongoing process, the regulatory and the resource framework of an EQMS can be operationalised with the aid of six different dimensions (Wyss 2013, p. 118ff.; Wyss 2016): 1. basic documents (e.g. quality policies, mission statements, codes of conduct, charters guaranteeing independence, ethical guidelines etc.); 2. personnel development (e.g. training opportunities, transparent recruitment procedures, job descriptions); 3. organisational structure (e.g. working conditions, separation of editorial and marketing departments); 4. production process (e.g. briefings, message request, acceptance); 5. corrective measures (e.g. feedback, ombudspersons); 6. audience involvement (e.g. audience perception, audience constructions, audience satisfaction, stakeholder complaints).

Method To act responsibly in relevant editorial decision-making processes, above all it is editorial basic documents that create commitment and guarantee that everyone operates at the same standard. For the current analysis, we therefore concentrate on this dimension of an EQMS and consider it to be of overriding importance, as it forms the basis of all subsequent quality-related efforts and internal media accountability instruments. Second, we examine if there is a recognisable correlation between the existence of basic documents and the existence of securing production processes, understood as a direct impact on everyday quality assurance. Based on three representative, nationwide surveys in Switzerland, conducted in 1998 (n=2,020), between 2006 and 2008 (n=2,509) and between 2012 and 2015 (n=909) among a total of 5,438 journalists, the issues of whether editorial basic documents were available in their editorial offices and whether journalists knew their contents were examined (Keel 2011; Wyss 2012). In 1998 and 2008, participants were primarily identified via member lists of the national journalists’ associations impressum and comedia (today: syndicom) and surveyed by post. The design of the 2015 survey differs as only an online questionnaire was sent randomly to active journalists who are currently working in or for editorial offices. The design of the longitudinal study made it possible to record changes in the past 20 years with regard to the perceived regulatory impact on editorial basic documents. The main focus was on the question of whether there are discernible differences between journalists working for regulated editorial offices and those working for non-regulated ones. From a structural theory perspective (Giddens

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1984; Wyss 2016), the forced institutionalisation should leave its mark. The primary questions of the three surveys differ slightly: •• ••

surveys of 1998 and 2015: Do the following basic documents (quality policy, charter that guarantees independence, ethical guidelines) exist in your editorial board? survey of 2008: Do the following basic documents (quality policy, charter that guarantees independence, ethical guidelines) exist in your editorial board and if yes, do you know their content?

In the 2015 survey, journalists were asked in addition to what extent central quality assurance processes have been established in their editorial offices. Unfortunately, the corresponding data are missing for the previous surveys.

Results Existence of basic policy documents Table 10.1 shows the quantity and proportion of participants of all three surveys who indicated the existence of basic policy documents which underlie the EQMS in their editorial offices, separated by media type. As far as a quality policy is concerned, the proportion in the print media has decreased significantly over the entire period, but it has increased for private and public broadcasters. Overall, the amount increased only slightly. When it comes to charters that guarantee editorial independence, the regulation impact is less obvious. While TABLE 10.1 Existence of editorial basic documents underlying the in-house EQMS

Newspaper Private TV Private Public TV Public radio Total (in %) (in %) radio (in %) (in %) (in %) (in %) Quality policy 2015 (n=594) 50 74 2008 (n=2113) 43 1998 (n=1926) 69 Charter that guarantees independence 2015 (n=372) 36 47 2008 (n=2132) 39 1998 (n=1904) 70 Ethical guidelines 2015 (n=643) 61 90 2008 (n=2112) 24 1998 (n=1874) 34

84 60 62

90 75

60 72

49 49



43 47

40 79

38 27




99 66



65 52 63 41 42 55 71 35 38

Source:  the authors. Note:  The table shows the number (n) and the proportion of participants from all three surveys that indicated the existence of the respective basic documents, separated by media type.

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the print media have seen a marked decline over the past 20 years, private and public broadcasters have only partially shown a notable appreciation. Mainly, the tendency remained quite stable. Overall, the existence of their own charters declined noticeably. However, if we look at the ethical guidelines, we see an enormous and thorough increase in all types of media and in the total number. Ethical standards and guidelines are codified by professional associations, with press councils monitoring compliance and publicly reprimanding violations of the codes of conduct – both in Switzerland and internationally. Such codes are intended to provide journalists with guidance for their professional action that is as ethically non-conflicting as possible. The guidelines should also provide predictability as well as standards and rules for ethically sensitive decisions in editorial work. Finally, they also have the purpose of preventing external control by means of self-regulation. In journalism research, the consistent orientation towards professional ethical standards and thus the obligation to professional ethics is regarded as an indicator of journalistic professionalisation. Ethical rules of professional ethics can be found in internationally widespread codes of conduct for journalists – that is policy papers with corresponding professional target values, which are intended to serve as instruments of self- and quality control. Since the implementation of the nRTVG in 2008, the number of journalists working for private broadcasters who have the opportunity to access basic editorial documents has generally increased. The only exception is the case of editorial charters at private TV stations. Within the first two surveys – separated by ten years and without changing the state regulatory system – there was no comparable increase at the same stations. During the same period of time, the discrepancy seems remarkable compared to their colleagues who work for newspapers where there is no content-related or EQMS regulation. In this case, the number of quality policies and editorial charters has decreased significantly. Public service broadcasters mainly show a higher level of participation in basic documents than private actors.

Quality assurance processes A first process for quality assurance in everyday editorial work is to talk to a superior about the storyline before producing an article or a programme. This will take place within the framework of a briefing. Overall, 81% of all respondents stated that such a briefing takes place “now and then” (30%) or “always” (51%). However, the media-typical differences become clear. Respondents had the opportunity to give their answers on a four-step scale (see Table 10.2). The average (mean) for all respondents was 3.26, with the publicly controlled private and public radio and TV stations above average and the print media below. Some 9% of print journalists reported that they never attend a briefing. The findings are less clear when the respondents were asked whether there was criticism of a programme or a magazine after each issue. Here, too, the print media were well below the average (mean: 3.06) and the editorial staff of public

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TABLE 10.2 Existence of editorial quality assurance processes

2015 survey

Newspaper (n=312)

Private TV (n=37)

Private radio (n= 60)

Public TV (n=54)

Public radio (n= 93)

There will be a briefing before each production of an article. mean 3.11 3.54 3.08 3.85


There is a sheet criticism – daily or after each issue. mean 2.98 3.05 2.98



Employees define personal performance targets with their superiors. mean 2.87 3.08 3.27 3.81


Source:  the authors. Note:  The table shows the number (n) of respondents and the mean of their answers on a four-step scale (1=never; 2=rare; 3=occasional; 4=always) from the 2015 survey, separated by media type.

broadcasters were clearly above the average. The editorial offices of private radio and TV stations were in between. While 16% of the journalists in the print editorial offices stated that there is never a sheet criticism in their editorial offices, this was only 11% for private television and 13% for private radio. A third instrument of quality assurance is the definition of personal performance targets between the editorial management and the employees. Here, too, the data show that this is more often the case for both private and public radio and TV stations than for the print media, for which there are no such requirements by the regulator.

Discussion Preliminary results showed that ten years ago, around one third of all news organisations in Switzerland had defined quality objectives in mission statements or editorial manuals (Wyss 2007). The situation remained similar until 2012. Despite more pronounced cross-media reporting and a trend towards industrially produced news – especially in the case of online sources or free media – an EQMS was hardly spontaneously institutionalised (Wyss 2012). It therefore appears that a critical public debate and regulatory efforts of the media are needed in order to institutionalise instruments of self-control. The Swiss case study presented here shows that the implementation of regulated self-regulation concepts has the potential to engage media organisations in terms of media governance, to make their quality objectives transparent and to improve a crucial part of an EQMS. It can be concluded that institutionalised forms of quality management have strengthened the existence of editorial basic documents, which form the basis for further instruments of media accountability (e.g. corrective measures or audience involvement). In editorial offices that have been regulated since 2008, basic documents exist more frequently than in nonregulated ones. In principle, it should be noted that public service broadcasters

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generally dispose of basic documents more frequently than private actors due to public observation and claims. Due to the continuing tense economic situation of the print media, these players, in particular, are experiencing a considerable deterioration in the existence of basic editorial documents. Basically, they seem to be investing fewer resources in an EQMS. Of all the basic documents, the ethical guidelines show the most significant increase in all types of media. In the last ten years, media ethical aspects have increasingly been the subject of public discourses at the national level, triggered by several defamatory coverage case studies that have led to a loss of reputation for the respective media organisation. It seems that media companies have been forced to create a framework of justification that reduces the risk of future incidents and thus economic losses. Hence, it can be assumed that this increase is not primarily an unselfish commitment to media accountability. A similar picture can be seen concerning crucial quality assurance processes. Although no data are available here that permit a longitudinal comparison, it is evident that both public broadcasters and private radio and TV stations obliged by the regulator have processes in place that permit institutionalised internal criticism more often than print media. In addition, fewer performance targets are agreed in the print media than in the electronic media. The establishment of such quality assurance processes makes sense and is effective above all if organisationspecific quality objectives have been set beforehand. It can therefore be seen that it is the editorial offices that have established quality assurance processes that also have the corresponding policy papers, statutes or ethical guidelines. The survey results are in line with the participating observations of editorial workflows at national private broadcasters by the authors (Wyss 2013, pp. 114–115). On the basis of these empirical findings and taking into account the current structural situation, it therefore makes sense to continue the current regulatory strategy for broadcasters. In addition, the extension of a governmentinduced EQMS regulation for newspaper newsrooms, as well as for new journalistic players on the media horizon and online media in general, should be discussed. All of the previously mentioned actors are currently lacking empirical data on their commitment to EQMS processes in their daily work. For example, it is largely unknown whether and how the online editorial offices of traditional newspapers take over the EQMS from their parent editorial offices. In addition, it remains unclear whether the sharp decline for print media in terms of quality policies and charters that guarantee independence is due to the progressive merging of editorial offices or because no resources can be used for this purpose in everyday work. A proposal for a revised Radio and Television Act was published in 2018. In the near future, not only radio and television but also content provided by online channels will be part of the public service. In the search for criteria on the basis of which journalism of high quality can be publicly funded, we strongly recommend a proven, serious and sustainable EQMS implementation. Since an EQMS has been proven to promote media accountability instruments, it may also have a positive effect on (perceived) journalistic quality. To

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date, there is still insufficient empirical data available for a causal relationship (Wyss 2016, p. 176). An empirical approach to answering this question is only possible through a combination of methods: the input analysis of EQMSs must be supplemented by the output analysis of editorial publications and audience surveys. Initial attempts to bring all these aspects together are being made by an organisation concerned with media quality in Switzerland, the Stifterverein Medienqualität Schweiz, although the sample is not large enough yet to provide reliable results (Medienqualität Schweiz 2016). If reliable correlations are found, an EQMS ranking of editorial offices could act as a financial distribution key for the media regulator, based on regular evaluation by independent reviewers. It is expected that the requirements for an EQMS could be more easily negotiated consensually between the regulatory body, media practitioners and media scholars and therefore act as a more widely accepted decision criterion than the controversial journalistic output quality (Wyss 2012, p. 257). The findings also show that media policy advice through media scholars in the form of empirical data provides valuable input for media policy and can trigger democracy-promoting regulatory change processes in the media system. Due to the increasing complexity of the media system, the need from public authorities for corresponding independent expertise is likely to increase further in the future (Weingart and Lentsch 2008, p. 10) – a silver lining, as the historical success of media policy advice has so far been rather mixed both in Switzerland and internationally (Kiefer 2005, p. 206; Künzler et al. 2012).

References Bertrand, C.-J., 2008. M*A*S in the present world. An overview of media accountability systems. In: T. von Krogh, ed. Media Accountability Today… and Tomorrow. Updating the Concept in Theory and Practice. Gothenburg: Nordicom, 29–39. Bonfadelli, H., and Marr, M., 2007. Journalistinnen und Journalisten im privaten Rundfunk der Schweiz. Ergebnisse einer Online-Befragung im Auftrag des BAKOM – Forschungsbericht. IPMZ, University of Zurich. Available from: radio_tv/00509/01188/01811/index.html?lang=de Degen, M., and Spiller, R., 2014. Crowdfunding im Journalismus. In: F. Lobigs and G. von Nordheim, eds. Journalismus ist kein Geschäftsmodell. Aktuelle Studien zur Ökonomie und Nicht-Ökonomie des Journalismus. Baden-Baden: Nomos, 201–217. Dumermuth, M., 2012. Das BAKOM und seine Forschungsaufträge. In: M. Leonarz, ed. Im Auftrag des BAKOM. Aktuelle Studien zur Leistungsfähigkeit von Presse, Radio und Fernsehen in der Schweiz. Zurich: SwissGIS, 9–16. Fehr, H.-J., 2015. Das Mediensystem muss demokratiegerechter werden. In: M. Leonarz, ed. Wissenschaftliche und praktische Medienpolitik als politische Daueraufgabe. Umstrittene Reaktion auf die Ausdünnung des Bannwaldes der Demokratie in der Schweiz. Baden-Baden: Nomos, 129–135. Fengler, S., 2012. From media self-regulation to “crowd-criticism.” Media accountability in the digital age. Central European Journal of Communication, 52 (9), 175–189. Giddens, A., 1984. The Constitution of Society. Outline of the Theory of Structuration. Cambridge: Polity.

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Gottwald, F., Kaltenbrunner, A., and Karmasin, M., 2006. Medienselbstregulierung zwischen Ökonomie und Ethik. Erfolgsfaktoren für ein österreichisches Modell. Vienna: LIT. Jarren, O., 2007. Die Regulierung der öffentlichen Kommunikation. Medienpolitik zwischen Government und Governance. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, 37 (146), 131–153. Keel, G., 2011. Journalisten in der Schweiz. Eine Berufsfeldstudie im Zeitverlauf. PhD thesis. University of Zurich. Keel, G., Dingerkus, F., and Wyss, V., 2018. Journalistische Autonomie und Qualitätsmanagement – ein Widerspruch? In: A. Czepek, M. Hellwig, B. Illg and E. Nowak, eds. Freiheit und Journalismus. Baden-Baden: Nomos, 69–78. Kiefer, M.-L., 2005. Ökonomisierung der Medienbranche – Herausforderungen für die Publizistikwissenschaft und die Medienpolitik. In: E. Schade, ed. Publizistikwissenschaft und öffentliche Kommunikation. Beiträge zur Reflexion der Fachgeschichte. Konstanz: UVK, 191–208. Künzler, M., Puppis, M., and Jarren, O., 2012. Der “praktische” Beitrag der Kommunikationswissenschaft zur Ausgestaltung der schweizerischen Medienordnung. In: S. Fengler, T. Eberwein and J. Jorch, eds. Theoretisch praktisch!? Anwendungsoptionen und gesellschaftliche Relevanz der Kommunikations- und Medienforschung. Konstanz: UVK, 121–135. McQuail, D., 1994. Mass Communication Theory. An Introduction. 3rd ed. London: Sage. McQuail, D., 2003. Media Accountability and Freedom of Publication. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Medienqualität Schweiz, 2016. Medienqualitätsranking 2016. Available from: http:// Puppis, M., et al., 2015. Das Projekt Regulierungs-Monitoring: Wissensgrundlage für medienpolitische Weichenstellungen. In: M. Leonarz, ed. Wissenschaftliche und praktische Medienpolitik als politische Daueraufgabe. Umstrittene Reaktion auf die Ausdünnung des Bannwaldes der Demokratie in der Schweiz. Baden-Baden: Nomos, 97–127. UVEK [Eidgenössisches Departement für Umwelt,Verkehr, Energie, Kommunikation], 2007. Musterkonzession für Regionalfernsehen mit Leistungsauftrag und Gebührenanteil. Available from: informationen-ueber-radio-und-fernsehveranstalter/provisorische-konzessionen/ ausschreibung-der-neuen-ukw-und-regional-tv-konzessionen.html von Krogh, T., 2016. “Self-regulate, or we will regulate your content.” Are state threats of regulation threats to freedom of speech? In: M. Edström, A. T. Kenyon and E.M. Svensson, eds. Blurring the Lines. Market-Driven and Democracy-Driven Freedom of Expression. Gothenburg: Nordicom, 165–175. Weingart, P., and Lentsch, J., 2008. Wissen – Beraten – Entscheiden: Form und Funktion wissenschaftlicher Politikberatung in Deutschland. Weilerswist: Velbrück. Wyss, V., 2002. Redaktionelles Qualitätsmanagement. Ziele, Normen, Ressourcen. Konstanz: UVK. Wyss,V., 2007. Qualitative Analyse der Strukturen zur redaktionellen Qualitätssicherung im privaten Rundfunk in der Schweiz 2006. BAKOM – Forschungsbericht. IAM, Zurich University of Applied Sciences Winterthur. Available from: radio_tv/00509/01188/01811/index.html?lang=de Wyss, V., 2012. Die Krise des professionellen Journalismus aus der Sicht des Qualitätsmanagements. In: W. A. Meier, H. Bonfadelli and J. Trappel, eds. Gehen in den Leuchttürmen die Lichter aus? Was aus den Schweizer Leitmedien wird. Zurich: LIT, 255–276.

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Wyss, V., 2013. Auf dem Weg zur Anreizregulierung: Der Blick auf das Schweizer Modell. In: die medienanstalten – ALM GbR, ed. Programmbericht 2013: Fernsehen in Deutschland. Programmforschung und Programmdiskurs. Berlin: Vistas, 111–123. Wyss, V., 2016. Qualitätsmanagement in Redaktionen. In: K. Meier and C. Neuberger, eds. Journalismusforschung. Handbuch für Wissenschaft und Studium. 2nd ed. BadenBaden: Nomos, 159–182. Wyss, V., and Keel, G., 2009. Media governance and media quality management: theoretical concepts and an empirical example from Switzerland. In: A. Czepek, M. Hellwig and E. Nowak, eds. Press Freedom and Pluralism in Europe. Concepts and Conditions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 115–128.

11 ACCOUNTABILITY AND CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN THE MEDIA INDUSTRY A topic of relevance? Isabell Koinig, Sandra Diehl, Franzisca Weder and Matthias Karmasin Introduction Media ethical discourses on corporate behaviour are usually negatively connoted, focusing on (managerial) misconduct. Positive contributions are rarely focused on, making critiques of “greenwashing” sound somewhat justified. In recent years, however, arguments have changed. One crucial question directed towards companies today is as old as the idea of a company itself: “what is business for and what contribution does it make to society?” (Crane et al. 2008, pp. 3–4). Apart from economic goals (i.e. increasing sales and revenues), enterprises have started to address social and environmental challenges (Karmasin and Weder 2011). Today more than ever, a company’s reputation in the global marketplace is related to its social as well as its financial performance. As concerns for businesses to be engaged in social and environmental activities are increasing globally, corporations are being forced to rethink the scope of their activities. As a result, the concepts of accountability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) are on the rise and discussed in various companies. In general, media accountability (MA) looks at any non-state means by which the media (both as institutions and channels) are held responsible to the public (Bertrand 2000). Referred to as media social responsibility (MSR) by Altmeppen (2011), the extensive responsibilities of the media sector merit further research, as this area has received limited attention to date.The present investigation will look at the topic of CSR in general and MSR in particular, identifying which topics media enterprises stress as part of their online communications. For this purpose, the findings from 32 media companies from three countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) are compared to find out (1) if media-specific issues received consideration and (2) which topics are stressed in the individual countries. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the results, the limitations of this study and directions for future research.

Accountability and CSR 


The relevance of media accountability and corporate social responsibility The media occupy a central role in exposing misconduct, investigating reasons for political shifts and reporting about financial and economic crises all over the world, and the public relies on its stories for information and education. Often labelled the fourth estate and on the grounds of the special status of its products (as private yet public entities), media companies hold twin or dual responsibilities (Altmeppen 2011). So, the core questions are: how accountable are those who hold others accountable and how do media companies deal with their dual responsibilities? Two concepts are helpful in answering these questions: media accountability and corporate social responsibility. Characterised as “chameleon-like” in nature (Mulgan 2000, p. 207), accountability refers to all “voluntary or involuntary processes by which the media answer directly or indirectly to their society for the quality and/or consequences of publication.” On an institutional level, accountability is used to describe a “process by which media organisations may be expected or obliged to render an account of their activities to their constituents” (Pritchard 2000, p. 2). By contrast, CSR is defined as “a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interactions with stakeholders on a voluntary basis” (European Commission 2001) and can be broadly subdivided into three forms of responsibilities: “social, economic and environmental responsibilities” ( Jarolimek 2014). Taken together, these three dimensions constitute the so-called triple bottom line of CSR (Elkington 1994). Both MA and CSR are referred to in today’s media and communication society, where they are often used interchangeably due to their blurring boundaries (Cheruiyot 2017). Based on the definitions given above, it becomes obvious that although the two concepts are quite distinct, they are also quite similar to one another. While CSR exceeds corporate compliance with legal standards (Meffert and Münstermann 2005) and has to be seen as a response to public expectations (Karmasin and Weder 2011), accountability is broader in its coverage and also consists of tools outside of the institutional context. These are commonly referred to as media accountability instruments (MAIs), which are numerous, comprising both institutional tools (e.g. press councils, media councils, codes of ethics, ombudsmen) and non-institutional or external organs (such as media research centres and NGOs) (Eberwein and Porlezza 2014; Cheruiyot 2017). Increasingly, public involvement is also on the rise due to increased citizen participation (Eberwein and Porlezza 2014; Fengler et al. 2011). Figure 11.1 illustrates our distinct understanding of accountability and CSR in the media industry. Whereas responsibility is predominantly of relevance to the journalistic profession (comprising work ethics etc.), accountability concerns the public relevance attributed to proper professional ( journalistic and organisational) behaviour (Painter-Morland and Deslandes 2016). Thus, CSR is seen as a voluntary and essential, yet limited part, of accountability.

164  I. Koinig, S. Diehl, F. Weder and M. Karmasin



FIGURE 11.1  Conceptualisation

of media accountability and corporate social

responsibility (Source:  the authors).

For the media industry, four distinct forms of accountability are discussed: (1) professional accountability (ethical codes), (2) public accountability (citizen education, market relations), (3) market accountability (supply and demand regulation) and (4) political accountability (regulations and laws) (Painter-Morland and Deslandes 2016; Bardoel and d’Haenens 2004). Painter-Morland (2007) claims that accountability is relational, given that companies are “relationally responsive toward all stakeholders in society, and relationally shaped by participation in structures and power dynamics” (Painter-Morland and Deslandes 2016, p. 666). Concerning CSR, corporate foci vary widely. Concepts are either political (corporate citizenship), social (social responsibility) or ecological (sustainability), referring to the corporation as a whole (corporate responsibility) and particularly to management (corporate governance). A corporation’s motives to engage in CSR are often subject to scrutiny. In literature, scholars distinguish between extrinsic and intrinsic motives for engaging in CSR initiatives (e.g. Graafland and Mazereeuw-Van der Duijn Schouten 2012; Graafland and Smid 2012; Muller and Kolk 2009). Extrinsic motivations can be viewed as the “agitation by specific stakeholder groups (such as a consumer boycott), competitive pressures arising from the market (such as increasing demand for ‘green’ products), or regulatory pressures stemming from government policymaking (such as environmental legislation),” while intrinsic motivations, on the other hand, describe “the drive of managers to ‘do the right thing,’ a morality-based claim linked to the ‘norm’ arguments associated with integrative social contract theory (…) and stewardship theory” (Muller and Kolk 2009, p. 6). Over the years, it has evolved from an “obligation (‘doing good to look good’) to a strategy (‘doing well and doing good’)” (Nussbaum 2009, p. 68). At the corporate level, CSR has thus become an issue that is addressed both practically and communicatively (Cochran 2007; Karmasin and Weder 2008; Ihlen et al. 2011; Coombs and Holladay 2013; Weder 2012), rendering CSR crucial for corporate success (Diehl et al. 2016). Likewise, CSR is also key in attracting and retaining (potential) employees (Edelman 2012). In consequence, a purely economic form of operation is not sufficient anymore; instead, firms must align their economic efforts with social and environmental concerns so as not to lose their “licence to operate.”

Accountability and CSR 


Combining ethical and economic rationales, nonetheless, is not enough – at least if CSR is considered related to a specific sector like the media industry. To create (and maintain) public awareness for corporate (social and environmental) engagements, these projects must also be addressed proactively and publicly through communication (Etter and Fieseler 2011; Diehl et al. 2016). In addition, every communication must be responsible in itself (Karmasin and Weder 2008). In the following, we will introduce CSR communication as an increasingly demarcated research area, mostly based on communication theory and concepts of organisational communication.

Corporate social responsibility communication Communication is a central element of CSR, for it “requires the companies and its respective managers to connect and build favourable relationships with internal and external stakeholders” (Breitbarth et al. 2009, p. 251). Communication is seen as the strategic core of CSR, comprising the communication in, from and about an organisation (Weder 2009), addressing an organisation’s long-term, sustainable activities which are not only aligned with the core business activities but also with the efforts of the company to exceed what companies are legally required to do ( Jarolimek 2014). Over time, as more information becomes available, organisations are learning to realise the importance of proactive CSR communication, allowing them to shape what is being said about their projects and initiatives (Podnar 2008; Golob et al. 2017). Corporate social responsibility communication is, first and foremost, perceived as the communication of CSR activities to different internal and external stakeholders. When talking about CSR and raising awareness for corporate social and environmental initiatives, numerous channels can be utilised, such as CSR or sustainability reports, press releases, stakeholder magazines and corporate websites. Corporate websites are of increasing importance in making information accessible to a wider public audience. The three dimensions of responsibility, social, economic and environmental, constitute the so-called triple bottom line of CSR (Elkington 1994). With communication being added as a fourth dimension, we can refer to the quadruple bottom line of CSR (Karmasin and Weder 2008). Thereby, one of three communication strategies can be pursued: (1) a stakeholder-information strategy, (2) a stakeholder-reaction strategy or (3) a stakeholder-engagement strategy. While the first two forms are particularly suited to spreading corporate news, the third form is more exchange-oriented (Morsing and Schulz 2006; Jo and Jung 2006), allowing corporations and their stakeholders to engage in a dialogic interaction which particularly caters for the interests of a more proactive audience that wishes to be engaged. Here, we see the very specific role of communication, as CSR activities have to be communicated to reach the addressed stakeholder. Moreover, the CSR communication itself is a way to take responsibility – or not. Non-transparent communication, issues explained in a complex way

166  I. Koinig, S. Diehl, F. Weder and M. Karmasin

and communication detached from the core business do not meet the expectations. Here, values like transparency, objectivity, authenticity and accuracy can be implemented in the form of a communication ethical concept (Fengler et al. 2014; Karmasin and Krainer 2016; Karmasin and Litschka 2017). This is particularly true of online communication. “The link (of communication) to CSR is the assumption that CSR reporting is credible because transparency provided by the Internet (and other media channels) ensures that any irresponsible corporate action will be exposed and punished” (Coombs and Holladay 2013, p. 213). Corporate social responsibility communication can and should be utilised to develop and improve a favourable corporate image (Vidaver-Cohen and Brønn 2008), and communicative measures can help firms to achieve this goal (Ihlen et al. 2011; ter Hoeven und Verhoeven 2013; Diehl et al. 2016). It holds true that the “potential for instigating changes through new types of communication should not be underestimated” (Christensen and Langer 2009, p. 143). Thus, we support the idea of the integrated organisation of CSR communication (Diehl et al. 2017). In this way communication becomes the fourth dimension of responsibility, accompanying social, environmental and economic responsibility. Thinking about the challenges of not only communicating about activities to take responsibility but communicating responsibly as well, the media industry seems to be a very challenged sector when dealing with CSR.

Corporate social responsibility in the media industry (media social responsibility) As social concerns are on the rise globally, the topic of CSR is becoming increasingly relevant for media organisations and there are many different reasons why CSR is applicable in the media industry. Karmasin (2010), as well as Trommershausen and Karmasin (2016), consider that the concept allows media enterprises to cope with public demands for responsible economic operation and responsible journalistic work. Ingenhoff and Koelling (2012) also emphasise that due to increased competition, media organisations need to strengthen their reputations through CSR activities. Trommershausen (2011) detects this need especially for companies belonging to the TIME industry (Telecommunications, Information Technology, Media and Entertainment), which are called upon to ensure public transparency by disclosing information on corporate social and environmental activities. Particularities of media companies pinpoint the relevance of accountability and CSR to the industry. First, media organisations must fulfil certain societal functions, including the provision of information to citizens; hence, they have to meet journalistic and editorial standards, such as independence, objectivity, diversity, pluralism and truthfulness. Second, media organisations are also economic players and therefore need to emphasise and strengthen certain business characteristics, such as efficiency, profit, market share and reputation (Ingenhoff and Koelling 2012). The concept of media governance1 is also of considerable

Accountability and CSR 


interest, covering media-related and journalistic issues, such as journalistic guidelines and editorial independence (Ingenhoff and Koelling 2012). Third, according to Karmasin (2010), the distinction between economic and journalistic conditions must be borne in mind; this implies that the power of media corporations can be seen as a social privilege that goes hand in hand with special responsibilities, rendering CSR a central component of media self-regulation. These responsibilities cannot be delegated to the state, the market, the management or journalists but must be integrated into organisational processes. The social responsibility of the media industry (also referred to as media social responsibility; Altmeppen 2011) has been introduced only recently; and it has now been taken up by scholars to analyse the specific parameters conditioning CSR in the media industry. For instance, Tsourvakas (2016) claims “that media industries have, or should have, significant responsibilities,” further observing that the media’s responsibilities are “more extensive and intensive than for most other industries.” The main rationale behind this argument lies in the core tasks of media institutions that involve cultural production, citizen education and the cultivation of social perspectives. Hence, they hold a “dual responsibility” (Tsourvakas 2016, p. 152; Sandoval 2013, p. 56). Following Altmeppen (2011), the media (as a platform) and journalism need to be perceived as independent entities in terms of structure and function – and hold distinct responsibilities, even though journalism relies on the media for distribution. Despite this integration, the separation notion requires both the media and journalism to have distinct responsibilities that need to be borne in mind. Commonly cited CSR issues that hold distinct implications for media enterprises include aspects such as media plurality, data protection, intellectual property and copyright issues, transparent ownership, compliance, information integrity and the promotion of sustainable development, among others (Nicolas and Simon 2008). One academic approach addressing media social responsibility involves its institutionalisation. In Karmasin’s (2010) view, management lies at the core of corporate ethics and must undertake several tasks to make CSR activities accessible to the public. Several elements determine their successful integration and involve (1) implementing an ethical code, (2) appointing an ombudsman or ethical commission, (3) establishing an ethics hotline, (4) installing a stakeholder management and (5) communicating CSR activities publicly. The last point is of importance since the social and environmental commitments of organisations then offer communicative opportunities to strengthen the social reputation and consequently the entire reputation of an organisation (Röttger and Schmitt 2009). At the corporate level, CSR has thus become an issue that is addressed both practically and communicatively (Cochran 2007), rendering CSR communication crucial for corporate success by allowing media organisations to demonstrate their impact on society, the environment and the economy. Ingenhoff and Koelling (2012) stress that with increased competition, media organisations need to strengthen their reputations through media governance and CSR activities. The authors, who conducted research in Europe, consider that

168  I. Koinig, S. Diehl, F. Weder and M. Karmasin

investigating this area is especially useful as companies operating in the European media market take up media responsibility issues more actively than media companies in other parts of the world. They attribute this finding to the fact that public media might feel more accountable towards society because of their obligation to obey their public service contract. This is in line with Karmasin’s (2010) argument, which is that the regulation of journalistic work is also a major issue for media ethics, not only in terms of the influence that the media exerts on society and public opinion but also on the grounds of the media’s dual responsibility. As a result, media and publishing houses are called upon to guarantee and maintain their high journalistic and editorial standards through their CSR practices (Ingenhoff and Koelling 2012; Trommershausen 2011).

Tailoring corporate social responsibility activities in the media industry The Responsible Media Forum, formerly known as the Media CSR Forum, is based on a partnership between 25 leading media companies throughout the world. The goal of this initiative is to identify and take up the numerous social and environmental challenges that confront the media industry. Established in 2001, the forum claims that while CSR practice and sustainability can be applied to every industrial sector, there are many unique features that distinguish the media industry from other industrial sectors. Its 2008 publication was dedicated to the identification and validation of CSR-related areas that are of relevance in the media industry. These findings were based on their first report, which was released in 2003; yet the 2008 report was more extensive and contained a classification of CSR into three distinct areas: (1) CSR issues that apply to all sectors, (2) common CSR issues that have distinct implications for media companies and (3) unique CSR issues, which are particular to the media industry (Nicolas and Simon 2008; see Figure 11.2). In the following sections the topic of CSR will be analysed from a mediaspecific point of view, shedding some light on which topics companies operating in the D-A-CH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) consider relevant and address communicatively in their online communication.

Method The present investigation considers the elements and topics that are of relevance to media organisations in the context of corporate social responsibility, that is, media social responsibility. The aim was to answer the following research questions: RQ1: Is CSR a topic of relevance in the media industry? RQ2a: Which topics are most commonly addressed? RQ 2b: Do these topics refer to the particularities of the media industry?

Diversity of output Media literacy Transparent and responsible editorial policies Freedom of expression Impartial and balanced output

Plurality Data protection Entertainment and gaming Treatment of freelancers IP and copyright Health, safety and security Transparent ownership Compliance Digital divide Education Awareness of the impacts of communication Responsible advertising Promotion of sustainable development

Supply chain integrity Community investment Environmental management Staff investment Climate change Staff diversity Corporate governance Customer relationships


General CSR issues

Creative independence

Common CSR issues (media focus)

Valuing creativity

Unique Media CSR issues

Accountability and CSR 

Human rights Information integrity Citizenship

FIGURE 11.2 Forms

of CSR activities in the media industry

(adapted from Nicolas and Simon 2008)

For the quantitative content analysis, online communication tools – comprising media enterprises’ corporate websites, online press releases as well as content for download, such as CSR and sustainability reports and promotional messages – were investigated from three countries (Austria, Germany and Switzerland). The task was then to record and code all communicative activities published on the corporate websites that met the criteria of a designed coding scheme, which was adapted from Ingenhoff and Koelling (2012). The original scheme was extended by adding specifics regarding CSR in media enterprises (following the categorisation developed by Nicolas and Simon 2008), also looking at these CSR activities in relation to the communicative activity on the corporate websites. The total sample comprised 32 media organisations (including media conglomerates, production firms and publishing houses).2 They were included in the sample if they were ranked amongst the most relevant firms in their sector. In total, the CSR communication activities by 20 German, six Austrian and six Swiss corporations were scrutinised in detail over a two-month period (July to August 2016).

Results The results indicate that the overall communication of CSR engagement in media companies is only moderate to date, with 19 out of 32 media organisations having

170  I. Koinig, S. Diehl, F. Weder and M. Karmasin

addressed at least one CSR activity communicatively. When looking at German media enterprises, more than three quarters (13 out of 16) of the organisations have communicated at least one CSR activity, while two thirds (4 out of 6) of Austrian and Swiss firms did so as well. In Germany, media conglomerates communicated measures and seemingly implemented them almost twice as often as production firms (70% vs. 40%). Below the results are discussed on a country basis.

Germany In Germany media conglomerates disclose information about their CSR engagements online almost twice as often as media production firms (70% vs. 40%). Topics that are most prominently used by media conglomerates are (corporate) responsibility, compliance and engagement. Bertelsmann, for instance, perceives responsibility to concern areas such as organisational values, compliance (e.g. code of conduct, anti-corruption), freedom of the press, media access, media quality and media competency. Moreover, it lists several certificates and proclaims to follow the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) index (Bertelsmann 2016). A thorough impression is also created by ProSiebenSat.1. The company lists numerous initiatives by which it intends to pay tribute to its corporate responsibility, such as its pursuit of public value, making opportunities more accessible for young journalists, value creation and value transportation (Pro7Sat.1 2016). In the context of responsibility, Georg Holtzbrinck Verlagsgruppe is predominantly concerned with a responsible business and sustainability (Georg Holtzbrinck 2016). On the topic of compliance, Axel Springer does not disclose a lot of detail about how the company perceives the topic; it just mentions aspects such as the company’s code of conduct and journalistic principles (Axel Springer 2016). At Hubert Burda Media, engagement is a central component, encompassing the company’s very own charities, foundations and awards (e.g. New Faces award; Hubert Burda 2016). While both the Bauer Media Group and ZDF also utilise the term engagement, Bauer does not disclose any details about what is in this category (Bauer Media Group 2016). However, ZDF discusses engagement on three distinct levels, taking the specifics of society (foundations, awards, charities), the industry (promotion of women, European film heritage etc.) and the company into consideration (digital responsibility, data protection, transparency; ZDF 2016). Just like ZDF, other companies also adapt their responsible activities to the needs and requirements of specific stakeholders. Bertelsmann explicitly takes up the interests of its employees (addressing issues such as participation, diversity and work–life balance) as well as society in general (highlighting the relevance of public dialogue and media competency; Bertelsmann 2016). Employees are also the major recipients for ProSiebenSat.1 (2016), as the company highlights the importance of the career development of employees. Society is also of major interest to ZDF (2016), with the company stressing their child support initiatives and sport partnerships. Investors are important to Axel Springer (2016). As part of their investor relations section, topics such as transparency and compliance

Accountability and CSR 


are discussed along with financial issues. All other companies fail to explicitly address selected stakeholder groups. Environmental aspects particular to the media industry are also addressed. For Bertelsmann (2016), the company’s primary interests lie in climate protection and paper reduction, while Axel Springer (2016) and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck (2016) only address this topic as part of their sustainability reports. Regarding German production companies, CSR activities – both in general and media-specific – are of little importance. Only four out of ten enterprises refer to the topic of CSR at all. However, if they do, their CSR is tailored to the specifics of the media industry. Studio Hamburg (2016), for instance, is predominantly concerned with supporting media talents through its youngster award. Likewise, Constantin Film (2016) announces its TalentForum Munich online. For Bavaria Film Studios (2016), green studios, resourceful energy production and climateneutral server hosting are crucial. Other topics that are taken up are anti-corruption (Studio Hamburg 2016) and anti-piracy (Constantin Film 2016).

Austria Only 66% of Austrian media companies refer to CSR issues and they highlight the following three CSR aspects: citizenship, public value and health. For the Styria Media Group (2016), corporate citizenship tackles aspects of applied ethics (Styria Ethics) and social engagement (Styria Trust). Labelled as guiding principles, corporate citizenship activities at Moser Holding (2016) emphasise talent recruitment and development as well as regional competence, tradition, quality and independence. Closely linked to citizenship is the concept of public value, which takes a variety of forms. In the case of ORF (2016), five pillars can be identified: individual value (trust, service quality, entertainment, knowledge, responsibility), social value (plurality, integration, cultural education), Austria value (identity, value creation, federalism), international value (European integration, globalisation) and business value (innovation, transparency, competence). In terms of health, two initiatives must be mentioned: palliative care as “Styria Care” (Styria Media Group 2016) and “Working Healthy, Living Healthy” (Moser Holding 2016). Other media-related CSR activities concern humanitarian broadcasting and dialogic exchanges (ORF 2016), social engagement (Styria Media Group 2016), corporate values, journalistic quality (Moser Holding 2016) and responsibility (Verlagsgruppe News 2016).

Switzerland In the Swiss media landscape, two thirds of the companies investigated are concerned with CSR. Three main topics could be identified: engagement, sustainability and governance. Engagement and CSR are used almost synonymously at Ringier (2016). Besides emphasising the compliance with the company’s code of conduct, it stresses sustainability by highlighting its engagement on three levels

172  I. Koinig, S. Diehl, F. Weder and M. Karmasin

(economic, ecological and social responsibility).The educational duty of the media is taken up by SRG SSR (2016) as part of its governance, which discusses its “service public” in detail and covers other areas – yet not in much depth. These concern quality (e.g. workshop public value), economic aspects, market reach, education, culture (e.g. Pacte de l’audiovisuel and web first), sport and entertainment. Tamedia (2016) focuses on governance yet does not offer any insights about how it is implemented. At SwissCom (2016), both sustainability and governance are put at the centre, the latter covering a variety of topics like media competency, climate protection, fair supply chain and connected Switzerland. Only two individual stakeholder groups are addressed: investors (Tamedia 2016) and employees (SwissCom 2016).

Discussion and conclusions After discussing CSR activities at the country level, the research questions posed can be answered. RQ1 scrutinised whether CSR is a topic of relevance in the media industry at all. As indicated in Figure 11.3, the overall communication of CSR engagement in media companies is only moderate to date, suggesting that while the media hold dual responsibilities (Altmeppen 2011), they only partly comply with these regulations. However, this might be explained by the fact that both accountability and CSR are “voluntary” engagements whose advantages and benefits are hard to grasp. Another explanation might be the plethora of terms available, which hamper applicability due to the broad spectrum of areas they cover. RQ2 was about the topics that media companies most frequently address as well as the degree to which these initiatives are linked to the particularities of the media industry, once again referring to the specific responsibilities of media companies (Ingenhoff and Koelling 2012; Tsourvakas 2016; Sandoval 2013). As indicated in Figure 11.4, a variety of media-specific CSR issues are thematised, suggesting that the media sector has started to respond to its social obligations (McQuail 2003) by stepping up its ethical agenda, as called upon by Marrewijk (2003). This seems to indicate that the media – as those who hold




Austria Germany 0



FIGURE 11.3 Frequency

(Source:  the authors).





of CSR in the media industry





Accountability and CSR 




Responsibility | Compliance Diversity Code-of-Conduct Work-Life-Balance Freedom-of-Press Media-Access Copyright User-Protection Recycling Media-Competency Transparency Ethical-Journalism Social-Engagement Sustainability Public-Value Journalistic-Independence Data-Protection Digital-Literacy Health-and-Safety Cancer-Awareness

Humanitarian-broadcasting Public-value-dialogue Individual-value Social-value Austria-value Responsibility Pluralism Integration Cultural-education Transparency European-integration Social-engagement Corporate-citizenship Applied-ethics Palliative-care Supporting-talent Healthy-work-environments


FIGURE 11.4 Media-specific


Solidarity Public-value Education Culture Code-of-conduct Ecological-standards Economic-basis Social-engagement Corporate-governance Media-competency Climate-protection Fair-supply-chain Attractive-workplace

CSR issues

(Source:  the authors).

others accountable – have discovered CSR as a means of meeting their public obligations. While accountability comprises both company-internal and external mechanisms and tools to ensure the quality of media content, CSR only concerns company-initiated activities; yet the latter go beyond media content by also comprising aspects such as well-being, education and social and cultural development. As such, both accountability and CSR are central components of media self-regulation (Karmasin 2010), allowing companies to highlight their contribution to environmental, economic and social well-being. The concepts of accountability and CSR offer a useful way of studying the voluntary, and the increasingly required, engagements on behalf of media enterprises. As such, the media sector is fulfilling its self-regulating role (Karmasin 2010). Following the categorisation by Painter-Morland and Deslandes (2016), media companies’ accountability takes effect on four levels, which can be now discussed in relation to the study’s findings. Regarding professional accountability, media companies are called upon to appoint an ombudsman, as well as stand up for ethical journalism, freedom of the press and pluralism. In the case of public accountability, media companies must fulfil some educational duties, taking an interest in cultural education, media access, digital literacy and pluralism. In terms of market accountability, a fair supply chain and sustainable production can be named as examples. Finally, political accountability effects humanitarian broadcasting and anti-corruption initiatives as well as European integration. The number of activities listed suggests that in the three countries under investigation, media companies do not only

174  I. Koinig, S. Diehl, F. Weder and M. Karmasin

accept their accountability and thematise CSR issues that are rather general but also take up those that have implications for, and are unique to, the media sector (Nicolas and Simon 2008). In terms of communication strategies, as recommended by Morsing and Schulz (2006), media companies predominantly utilise a stakeholder information strategy and, at times, a stakeholder engagement strategy (e.g. child support initiatives). No incidences of stakeholder reaction strategies could be found. Even though companies do so to varying degrees, the in-depth discussion of media social responsibility (Altmeppen 2011) seems to be warranted and needs to be broadened in the future. To conclude, there are some limitations to the present study: first, the study only looked at the company’s online communication, not other (cross-media) channels. Second, the three countries included in the sample are rather similar. Third, only communication by top-ranked companies was investigated. Another limitation concerns the terminology used by companies, which varied significantly and thus hindered the comparability of results. For future quantitative studies, it might be advisable to work with thematic clusters (e.g. media literacy measures). Moreover, the legal requirements of the respective countries must be taken into consideration. In addition, to gain more in-depth insights, interviews might have to be conducted, allowing both internal (implicit) and external (explicit) perspectives on CSR to be compared, as well as uncovering managers’ notions of both media accountability and media CSR. It might also be worthwhile investigating which CSR strategies are pursued (synergistic, holistic etc.; Marrewijk 2003, following the example and Karmasin and Bichler 2017). Finally, with a more qualitative approach, it could be studied how people working in the media industry define responsible communication, thus making it possible to explore the intersection of journalism ethics and related organisational values and individual values.

Notes 1 We perceive media governance as a part of MA and thus also CSR. 2 The total list of the companies included in the sample can be found in the appendix.

References Altmeppen, K.-D., 2011. Journalistische Berichterstattung und media social responsibility. In: J. Raupp, S. Jarolimek and F. Schultz, eds. Handbuch CSR. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 247–266. Axel Springer, 2016. Verantwortung und Nachhaltigkeit. Available from: http://www. Bardoel, J., and d’Haenens, L., 2004. Media meet the citizen. European Journal of Communication, 19 (2), 165–194. Bauer Media Group, 2016. Corporate Responsibility. Available from: Bavaria Film Studios, 2016. Corporate Social Responsibility. Available from: http://www.

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Bertelsmann, 2016. Corporate Responsibility bei Bertelsmann. Available from: https://www. Bertrand, C.-J., 2000. Media Ethics and Accountability Systems. New Brunswick: Transaction. Breitbarth, T., Harris, P., and Aitken, R., 2009. Corporate social responsibility in the European Union: A new trade barrier? Journal of Public Affairs, 9 (4), 239–255. Cheruiyot, D., 2017. Do bloggers who criticize the press ultimately matter? Comunicacio: Revista de Recerca, 34 (1). Available from: pdf/00000247/00000036.pdf Christensen, L. T., and Langer, R., 2009. Public relations and the strategic use of transparency. In: R. L. Heath and D. Waymer, eds. Rhetorical and Critical Approaches to Public Relations II. New York: Routledge, 129–153. Cochran, P. L., 2007. The evolution of corporate social responsibility. Business Horizons, 50 (6), 449–454. Constantin Film, 2016. ÜBER UNS/Initiativen. Available from: Coombs, W. T., and Holladay, S. J., 2013. The pseudo-panopticon: The illusion created by CSR-related transparency and the Internet. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 18 (2), 212–227. Crane, A., Matten, D., and Moon, J., 2008. Corporations and Citizenship. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Diehl, S., et al., eds., 2017. Handbook of Integrated CSR Communication. Cham: Springer. Diehl, S., Terlutter, R., and Mueller, B., 2016. Doing good matters to consumers: The effectiveness of humane-oriented CSR appeals in cross-cultural standardized advertising campaigns. International Journal of Advertising, 35 (4), 730–757. Eberwein, T., and Porlezza, C., 2014. The missing link. Online media accountability practices and their implications for European media policy. Journal of Information Policy, 4, 421–433. Edelman, 2012. Edelman Good Purpose 2012. Available from: http://www.fairtrade. travel/source/websites/fairtrade/documents/Edelman_Goodpurpose_-_Global_ Consumer_Survey.pdf Elkington, J., 1994. Toward the sustainable corporation. California Management Review, 36 (2), 90–100. Etter, M., and Fieseler, C., 2011. Die Ökonomie der Verantwortung. In: J. Raupp, S. Jarolimek and F. Schultz, eds. Handbuch CSR. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozial­ wissenschaften, 269–280. European Commission, 2001. GREEN PAPER Promoting a European Framework for Corporate Social Responsibility. Available from: Fengler, S., et al., 2014. Grenzenlose Journalismusethik? Medienselbstkontrolle und Media Accountability im internationalen Vergleich. In: B. Stark, O. Quiring and N. Jackob, eds. Von der Gutenberg-Galaxis zur Google-Galaxis. Konstanz: UVK, 269–286. Fengler, S., Eberwein, T., and Leppik-Bork, T., 2011. Mapping media accountability – in Europe and beyond. In: T. Eberwein et al., eds. Mapping Media Accountability – in Europe and Beyond. Cologne: Halem, 7–21. Georg von Holtzbrinck, 2016. ÜBER UNS. Available from: https://www.holtzbrinck. com/de/ Golob, U., et al., 2017. The communicative stance of CSR: Reflections on the value of CSR communication. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 22 (2), 166–177. Graafland, J., and Mazereeuw-Van der Duijn Schouten, C., 2012. Motives for corporate social responsibility. De Economist, 160 (4), 377–396.

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Graafland, J., and Smid, H., 2012. Drivers of corporate social responsibility. In: K. Zoeteman, ed. Sustainable Development Drivers. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 156–183. Hubert Burda, 2016. Verantwortung. Available from: unternehmen/verantwortung/ Ihlen, Ø., Bartlett, J., and May, S., eds., 2011. The Handbook of Communication and Corporate Social Responsibility. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. Ingenhoff, D., and Koelling, A. M., 2012. Media governance and corporate social responsibility of media organizations: An international comparison. Business Ethics: A European Review, 21 (2), 154–167. Jarolimek, S., 2014. Being good, doing good... and telling people how good you are. Social Sciences and Humanities Latvia, 22 (2), 14–32. Jo, S., and Jung, J., 2006. A cross-cultural study of the world wide web and public relations. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 10 (1), 24–40. Karmasin, M., 2010. Medienunternehmung. In: C. Schicha and C. Brosda, eds. Handbuch Medienethik. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 217–231. Karmasin, M., and Bichler, K., 2017. Corporate social responsibility in the media industry. In: K.-D. Altmeppen, C. Hollifield and J. van Loon, eds. Value-Oriented Media Management. Cham: Springer, 135–146. Karmasin, M., and Krainer, L., 2016. Medienethik in einer ökonomisierten Welt. In: M. Maring, ed. Zur Zukunft der Bereichsethiken. Karlsruhe: KIT Scientific Publishing, 223–239. Karmasin, M., and Litschka, M., 2017. CSR as economic, ethical, and communicative concept. In: S. Diehl et al., eds. Handbook of Integrated CSR Communication. Cham: Springer, 37–50. Karmasin, M., and Weder, F., 2008. Organisationskommunikation und CSR. Vienna: LIT. Karmasin, M., and Weder, F., 2011. CSR nachgefragt: Kann man Ethik messen? In: J. Raupp, S. Jarolimek and F. Schultz, eds. Handbuch CSR. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 463–479. Marrewijk, M., 2003. Concepts and definitions of CSR and corporate sustainability. Journal of Business Ethics, 44 (2–3), 95–105. McQuail, D., 2003. Media Accountability and Freedom of Publication. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Meffert, H., and Münstermann, M., 2005. Corporate Social Responsibility in Wissenschaft und Praxis. Working Paper 186. Münster: Verlag Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft für Marketing und Unternehmensführung. Morsing, M., and Schultz, M., 2006. Corporate social responsibility communication: Stakeholder information, response and involvement strategies. Business Ethics: A European Review, 15 (4), 323–338. Moser Holding, 2016. Menschen. Medien. Möglichkeiten. Available from: http://www. Mulgan, R., 2000. “Accountability”: An ever-expanding concept? Public Administration, 78 (3), 555–573. Muller, A., and Kolk, A., 2009. Extrinsic and intrinsic drivers of corporate social performance. Journal of Management Studies, 47 (1), 1–26. Nicolas, C., and Simon, H., 2008. Mapping the landscape: CSR issues for the media sector. Available from: Nussbaum, A. K., 2009. Ethical corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the pharmaceutical industry: A happy couple? Journal of Medical Marketing, 9 (1), 67–76. ORF, 2016. Nachhaltigkeit. Available from: Nachhaltigkeit100.html

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Painter-Morland, M., 2007. Redefining accountability in a network society. Business Ethics Quarterly, 17 (3), 515–534. Painter-Morland, M., and Deslandes, G., 2016. Reconceptualizing CSR in the media industry as relational accountability. Journal of Business Ethics, 101 (10), 83–95. Podnar, K., 2008. Guest Editorial: Communicating corporate social responsibility. Journal of Marketing Communications, 14 (2), 75–81. Pritchard, D. H., 2000. Holding the Media Accountable. Indiana: Indiana University Press. Pro7Sat.1, 2016. Nachhaltigkeit. Available from: nachhaltigkeit Ringier, 2016. CSR. Available from: Röttger, U., and Schmitt, J., 2009. Bedingungen, Chancen und Risiken der Reputationskonstitution ökonomischer Organisationen durch corporate responsibility. In: S. J. Schmidt and J. Tropp, eds. Die Moral der Unternehmenskommunikation. Cologne: Halem, 39–58. Sandoval, M., 2013. Corporate social (ir)responsibility in media and communication industries. Javnost – The Public, 20 (3), 39–57. SRG SSR, 2016. Leitbild. Available from: Studio Hamburg, 2016. Studio Hamburg. Available from: Styria Media Group, 2016. Gesellschaftliches Engagement. Available from: https://www. SwissCom, 2016. Zusammen für mehr Nachhaltigkeit. Available from: https://www. Tamedia, 2016. Investor Relations. Available from: investor-relations/uebersicht ter Hoeven, C. L., and Verhoeven, J. W. M., 2013. “Sharing is caring”: Corporate social responsibility awareness explaining the relationship of information flow with affective commitment. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 18 (2), 254–279. Trommershausen, A., 2011. Corporate Responsibility in Medienunternehmen. Cologne: Halem. Trommershausen, A., and Karmasin, M., 2016. Corporate social responsibility in Medienunternehmen. In: J. Krone and T. Pellegrini, eds. Handbuch Medienökonomie. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 1–34. Tsourvakas, G., 2016. Corporate social responsibility and media management. In: G. F. Lowe and C. Brown, eds. Managing Media Firms and Industries. Cham: Springer, 143–158. Verlagsgruppe News, 2016. Management. Available from: Vidaver-Cohen, D., and Brønn, P. S., 2008. Corporate citizenship and managerial motivation: Implications for business legitimacy. Business and Society Review, 113 (4), 441–475. Weder, F., 2009. Organisationskommunikation und PR. Vienna: Facultas. Weder, F., 2012. “Verantwortung” als trendige Referenz der Wirtschaftsberichterstattung. Berlin: Springer. ZDF, 2016. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – Der Bericht. Available from: https:// html

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Appendix Country

Companies investigated

Germany (media conglomerates)

Bertelsmann ARD Axel Springer ProSiebenSat.1 SE Hubert Burda Media Bauer Media Group ZDF Verlagsgruppe Georg Holtzbrinck Funke Mediengruppe Verlagsgruppe Weltbild UFA-Gruppe Studio Hamburg GmbH Bavaria Film GmbH Constantin Film AG MME Moviement Endemol Deutschland ZDF-Enterprises GmbH ITV Studios Germany Brainpool TV GmbH Odeon Film AG ORF Mediaprint Styria Media Group Moser Holding Red Bull Media House Verlagsgruppe News SRG SSR Ringier AG Tamedia AG Publigroupe/Swisscom Basler Zeitung Medien NZZ Gruppe

Germany (production companies)




Technological challenges

12 INVOLVEMENT OF PRIVATE AND CIVIL SOCIETY ACTORS IN MEDIA REGULATION PROCESSES A comparison of all European Union member states Dirk Arnold Problem formulation In light of transnational processes such as technical convergence and Europeanisation, new perspectives and forms of media regulation and media governance are needed. Technical convergence is characterised by the integration of previously separate technologies, media content and markets. The establishment of the Internet and the web services based on it, as well as digitisation, enable the provision of essentially similar kinds of content and the distribution of various platforms and services. This leads to changes in the conditions under which content is produced and disseminated. Moreover, the increased possibilities for transmission and distribution are leading to new types of providers and to a proliferation of user-generated content (Roßnagel et al. 2007, pp. 28–30). Furthermore, in convergent media environments, lines are blurring between different media types, between media producers and consumers and between forms of public and private communication (Flew 2015). The ways in which states have been regulating their media up to now are being stretched to their limits. It is becoming increasingly difficult to assign digitised media offerings to a current regulatory model (Puppis 2010a, p. 295). Traditionally, media regulation has long centred on command and control by governments. The state set rules and standards that were backed by legal enforcement for non-compliance (Lunt and Livingstone 2012, p. 23). In view of the converged media surroundings, regulatory frameworks need to be adapted. The inclusion of media organisations and civil society representatives into new regulatory models seems more effective than pure state regulation with regard to ensuring that public interest objectives are achieved ( Jedrzejewski 2013, pp. 107–109).


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The concept of media governance offers an appropriate perspective and tool to analyse regulatory change. According to Freedman (2008, p. 14), media governance “refers to the sum total of mechanisms, both formal and informal, national and supranational, centralized and dispersed, that aim to organize media systems.” The concept comprises forms of statutory media regulation, forms of co-regulation where industry players work together with state actors, and it emphasises the need to involve civil society. In addition, media governance also includes instruments of media accountability, such as internal rules and control mechanisms, which are directed to holding single media organisations accountable and to strengthen their public and professional responsibility (Puppis 2010b, pp. 139–142). In practice, it is often difficult to make precise distinctions between mechanisms of state, co- and self-regulation and accountability practices. As well as being faced with changing objects of regulation, the EU member states must also deal with the vertical impact of European bodies. For instance, EU member states are obliged under treaties to implement EU regulations and directives into national law. In the field of media, the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) and the state aid rules are currently the most obvious instruments that the EU uses to influence national media regulation. The EU exerts such influence with a view to creating uniform conditions of competition throughout the EU and with a view to promoting the media industry (Humphreys 2011, pp. 103–104). Accordingly, the European nation states are required to implement the provisions of the AVMSD into national law. However, there is national room for manoeuvre regarding the form of implementation. Moreover, the European Commission highlights the cooperation between state regulators, economic operators and social partners such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Therefore, article 4(7) of the AVMSD recommends that the member states shall encourage alternative forms of regulation such as coregulation regimes.

Research question and method Against the backdrop of convergence and Europeanisation, the concern of this chapter is to examine what possibilities the 28 EU member states offer private and civil society actors for ensuring that regulatory objectives are met. First, the chapter examines the existence and nature of co-regulation models as a horizontal extension of national statutory media regulation. In this chapter, co-regulation refers to those conditions in which self-regulation is integrated into a framework established by the state or takes place on a legal basis (Schulz and Held 2002, p. 8). Thus, private actors, the regulated industry, are entrusted with at least parts of the regulatory process that consists of rule setting, rule enforcement and sanctioning of non-compliance with these rules (Puppis 2010a, p. 60). However, the state remains responsible for the achievement of the public

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interest objectives, primarily the protection of freedom of the media, the lawfulness of media content and the promotion of media diversity (Saxer 2012, pp. 679–680). The descriptions result in an analysis of the similarities and differences between the co-regulatory approaches found within the EU member states and thus distinguish between different models of co-regulation. The second aim is to assess whether, and to what extent, representatives of both civil society, such as NGOs, and private actors, such as industry stakeholders, are involved in the supervisory and advisory bodies of the media regulatory agencies (MRA) and public service broadcasting (PSB) providers. An MRA is a “body with its own powers and responsibilities given under public law, which is organizationally separated from ministries” (Puppis and Maggetti 2012, p. 78). They are mainly responsible for licensing and supervising broadcasters to comply with media (content) rules. In recent years, in some states the powers of the regulatory authorities have been restructured or expanded to telecommunication services (Puppis and Maggetti 2012, p. 79). A descriptive analysis of the co-regulation models and the representation of civil society actors in supervisory and consulting bodies was carried out in the form of a synchronous cross-country comparison. Qualitative document analysis (according to Mayring 2002) for 28 EU member states was used for this purpose.1 The examined EU members are Austria (AT), Belgium (BE) 2, Bulgaria (BG), Cyprus (CY), the Czech Republic (CZ), Germany (DE), Denmark (DK), Estonia (EE), Spain (ES), Finland (FI), France (FR), Greece (GR), Croatia (HR), Hungary (HU), Ireland (IE), Italy (IT), Lithuania (LT), Luxembourg (LU), Latvia (LV), Malta (MT), the Netherlands (NL), Poland (PL), Portugal (PT), Romania (RO), Sweden (SE), Slovenia (SI), Slovakia (SK) and the United Kingdom (UK). The selected documents included legal documents such as laws and directives. For the legal documents, use was made of the database of the European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO n.d.), which contains articles “reporting on legal events of relevance to the audiovisual industry.” Self-representative documents and profiles of the MRAs were obtained from their websites or accessed via the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities (EPRA n.d.). Also relevant were reports prepared on behalf of the European Commission (EC 2011, 2009) and country reports from various research projects (among others: MEDIADEM 2011; OSF 2012). These reports document institutional conditions, the progress of implementation in the member states and statements about how the rules are being practically enforced. The findings of these studies rely on the consultation and input of country experts. The results are presented in the next part of this chapter. This is followed by an account of the role that the regulatory culture of a country plays with respect to the co-regulatory approaches and the involvement of private and civil society actors in regulatory bodies.


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Findings The results show that in 19 EU member states, two-thirds of the EU’s membership, co-regulation models do exist. However, there are a variety of models that fall under the term of “co-regulation”: ••




in seven EU member states (BG, CY, GR, NL, IT, SI, UK), media laws consist of legal obligations for media service providers to adopt and follow non-state codes of conduct. In these cases, voluntary self-regulating organisations are part of the rule-setting process. The regulated media operators, sometimes in cooperation with NGOs, adopt common guidelines and codes of conduct amongst themselves and for themselves. In Italy, for example, the non-state code of conduct regarding the protection of minors and advertising has been formally incorporated into media law, resulting in its obligations being legally binding even for companies that are not signatories (HBI 2006, p. 63); in three EU member states (AT, FR, CZ), media law imposes an obligation on the MRA to co-operate with self-regulatory bodies. For example, in France the Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel may take into account opinions and recommendations issued by the self-regulatory bodies, while exercising the supervisory powers in respect of advertising emissions and determining the seriousness of the case and sanctions (EC 2011, p. 3); in nine EU member states (DE, DK, ES, IE, IT, NL, PT, SI, UK), the state regulator certifies non-state codes or organisations or the state interferes by appointing members to their internal boards. The Netherlands and Germany have quite elaborate co-regulation models regarding the protection of minors. Thereby, the establishment of co-regulation models is “influenced by a declining belief in the regulatory powers of the state and a more liberal view on the functioning of markets. More reliance on self-regulation does not necessarily mean less social concern with media content, though” (De Waal 2011, p. 87). Therefore, in the Netherlands, the government accredited Het Nederlands Instituut voor de Classificatie van Audiovisuele Media (NICAM), a joint initiative of the whole audiovisual industry. NICAM handles complaints about the classification of content, regardless of whether TV, video, games and films, that may impair the physical, mental or moral development of minors and impose sanctions for breaching the rules. The Dutch media regulatory authority Commissariaat voor de Media (CvdM) keeps competences. The CvdM can intervene if serious harmful contents are broadcast and it is responsible for supervising NICAM (HBI 2006, pp. 75-77). In ten EU member states (BG, DE, ES, FI, FR, HU, IT, NL, SI, UK), the state leaves discretionary powers to a non-state body, while the MRA takes part in the rule enforcement and the sanctioning process. Mostly, the MRA acts as a superordinate regulator, meaning that it retains backstop powers to intervene if sufficient protection is at risk and non-state regulation fails

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(HBI 2006, p. 120). In Hungary, in 2011, the Media Council of the MRA Agencija za elektronicke medije concluded public administration agreements with four Hungarian media self-regulatory bodies such as the Association of Hungarian Content Providers. “The involvement of the self-regulatory bodies shall have priority to and supplement the activities of the Media Council” (Raskó 2011). However, the Media Council of the MRA exercises supervision over the activities of the self-regulatory bodies and checks regularly the fulfilment of the provisions of the administration agreements. When it comes to the regulatory objectives, most of the co-regulatory models focus on the protection of minors (eleven of 18 EU member states: AT, BG, FI, FR, GR, HU, IE, IT, NL, SI, UK) and the protection of consumers by means of advertising rules (nine of 18 EU member states: DE, ES, FI, HU, IE, IT, NL, SI, UK). In addition, results show that twelve EU member states (BG, CY, CZ, DK, ES, FI, GR, HU, IE, LU, LT, UK) increasingly govern profession rules and the ethics in the media by co-regulatory means. Sometimes the ethic codes also contain protection of minors and advertising content rules. For example, in Lithuania “all media providers legally have to abide by the provisions of the Code of Ethics for Journalists and Publishers, set by a conference of all media providers” and supervised by an ethics commission that is “composed by representatives of different media branches and NGOs” (EC 2011, p. 6). Regarding the types of media, the results show that most of the co-regulation models are within the field of broadcasting. “The reason for that is most likely that broadcasting is the medium, which is in all European states traditionally subject to heavier regulation than all other types of media. Therefore, there is a different starting point for the establishment of co-regulatory systems” (HBI 2006, p. 125). At the same time, there are only a few models of co-regulation to be found which are specifically designed for the press. This is not surprising because the press is traditionally governed by pure self-regulation through professional ethics codes (HBI 2006, p. 125). Therefore, we have no significant state involvement regarding that subject, except in DK, LU and IE. For example, in Denmark the Press Council has the task of maintaining ethical standards regarding defamation and the protection of private life and others, in both print and audiovisual media. Also, online media fall under the remit and thereby obtain the same privileges such as source protection, if they are registered with the Press Council (Søndergaard and Helles 2010, p. 15). The Press Council is a typical self-regulating organisation that consists of representatives of the Journalists’ Union, of media managers and editors and of the Danish Council for Adult Education. However, the members are appointed by the Minister of Justice, who also ratifies the press ethics code (Søndergaard and Helles 2010, p. 21). Furthermore, the existence and the composition of the board are laid down in the state Media Liability Act. The law clarifies that media content and the way the media act have to be in accordance with the press ethics code supervised by the Press Council (Helles et al. 2011, p. 12).


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Finally, non-linear services like video-on-demand and other online media also are suitable for co-regulation. Eleven EU member states (ES, DE, DK, FI, HU, IE, IT, NL, PL, SI, UK) established co-regulation models in the field of online media, especially in the field of non-linear audiovisual media. In the UK, in 2010, Ofcom, the statutory single media and telecommunications regulator, signed an agreement with the Authority for Television on Demand (ATVOD), the self-regulating organisation for editorial content of video-on-demand services and online media. The board of ATVOD consists of a majority of members independent of the industry.The designation authorised ATVOD to carry out a range of functions, including “notification of on-demand services,” and ensuring “compliance with statutory content rules and promote European works” (Prosser 2012). Ofcom retained concurrent responsibility to act as a “backstop, with the power to hear appeals from ATVOD’s decisions and to exercise enforcement powers” (Prosser 2012). In 2010, Ofcom hoped that the “designation provides for an effective and efficient co-regulatory model” (Prosser 2012).Then, in 2016, there occurred a backlash. Following a review, Ofcom decided to regulate VOD services in-house and to act as sole regulator. Ofcom’s argument was that, in light of the increasing convergence of linear and non-linear services, there is a “need for a comprehensive solution,” for which reason Ofcom “takes sole responsibility for regulation of editorial content” (Prosser 2016). This case is a striking example of a shift from co-regulation back to pure state regulation. Altogether, the results show that increasingly regulatory powers are handed over from the state to the industry. However, most of the co-regulation models and organisations do not include civil society representatives in a way that influences the process of rule setting and enforcement. Therefore, openness of the regulation process not only for companies but also for “other relevant stakeholders like civil society representatives or consumer groups is lacking in several systems in place” (HBI 2006, p. 179). In the context of the developments resulting from digitisation and technical convergence, there are different regulation models for the various types of mass media in most EU member states, instead of a coherent regulatory framework for all media content and services. For example, Germany has, for the protection of minors, separate regulatory bodies and regulation models for print media, broadcasting and online media (HBI 2006, pp. 160–161). It would be more appropriate to implement a platform neutral framework, “where rules are based on media content rather than upon delivery technologies” (Flew 2015). So far, national legislators and regulatory agencies in EU member states have been unsure about what is involved in regulating new media services and offerings that cannot readily be assigned to print media or to broadcast media. In the context of the civil society, the results show that in three quarters of all EU member states their representatives were involved in supervisory or advisory bodies of both the MRAs and the PSB providers: ••

in Germany and Lithuania, the decision-making organ in the MRA is a pluralistic board that is composed largely of representatives of civil society sitting beside members of political parties and experts. In Lithuania, nine of

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13 members of the board are appointed by civil society organisations (EPRA n.d.). In four EU member states (BG, DK, LU, SK), representatives of civil society are involved in the nomination process of members of the decisionmaking organ of the MRA. For example, in Bulgaria a former chair of the MRA, the Council for Electronic Media (CEM), advocated a civil society quota in the regulatory body and invited civil society organisations to nominate a candidate (Antonova and Georgiev 2013, p. 80). In Slovakia, the decision-making organ of the MRA, the Council for Broadcasting and Retransmission of the Slovak Republic (CBR), is primarily composed of political appointees. Members represent the interests of political parties rather than civic or professional values (Školkay et al. 2011, p. 21). Although board members are nominated by political parties, civil organisations and professional institutions, the parliament can ignore these nominations and appoint different board members (HBI 2011, p. 153); in four EU member states (CZ, DE, LT, NL), representatives of civil society are involved in supervisory bodies of the PSB providers. In Germany, the Broadcasting Councils’ task is to represent the interests of society at large. Therefore, this principle is implemented by placing representative societal groups on the Councils, such as representatives of unions, churches, sports or science associations and cultural groups but also representatives of political parties are admitted. “Although the state legislation always provides for a majority of the representatives of societal groups, state or political party influence in Broadcasting Councils cannot be denied” (Müller and Gusy 2011 p. 22). In the Netherlands, members of the PSB board also are appointed by social and cultural organisations (EC 2009, p. 479). In the Czech Republic, members of the Czech Television Council are nominated by NGOs or other groups that are active in public life. Although this selection process has deprived political parties of the direct nomination of the candidates, they still try to exert their influence, and party-friendly nominees still have a better chance of being elected than truly independent representatives (CMCS 2012, p. 76). According to the media law, the main governance body of the National Radio and Television of Lithuania (LTV) shall be an independent body of experts that consists of members of various public institutions and associations. Members of the governance body, which also participates in programming decisions, are partly appointed by NGOs and professional unions such as the Lithuanian Association of Journalists. This composition of the Council is supposed to ensure its independence. In practice, however, political and commercial interests interfere in its work (EC 2009, pp. 396, 414; Balčytienė and Juraitė 2016, p. 8); representatives of civil society also are involved in consulting bodies of the MRAs as well as PSB providers. Advisory bodies that give advice to the governing bodies of the MRAs exist in three EU member states (BE FR, IT, LV). In Italy, for instance, the advisory body of the Autorità per le garanzie nelle comunicazioni is a council that is composed of experts from different associations


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representing users. The task of the council is to monitor whether all social and cultural differences in the country are reflected in television and radio programs. Furthermore, it issues non-binding opinions on the rule-making process (Righettini and Nesti 2013, p. 108). Audience or public councils of the PSB providers exist in nine EU member states (AT, BG, EE, ES, HR, HU, IE, PT, UK). These councils operate on behalf of cultural, political and social groupings and of society and represent a diverse range of interests and backgrounds. They consist of representatives of public organisations and associations such as trade unions, religious, youth, parents, consumers, disabled people, minority associations and NGOs. Mostly, public councils give advice to management boards on issues relating to the PSBs’ content, public service remit and audience needs. In the UK, for instance, various audience councils exist for each of the “home” nations (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland), whose task is to highlight the diverse regional perspectives. These councils advise the BBC Trust on how well the BBC is discharging its public interest functions. Their consultation is required on all proposals subject to a Public Value Test and whenever the Trust makes a major decision (CMCS 2012, p. 82). The consulting bodies of the MRAs, as well as PSB providers, do not often make mandatory decisions and as a result have neither real power nor influence. In Bulgaria, for example, “their members do not receive payment for their contribution (and often do not take seriously their membership in those councils). They are practically without any implication on the pluralism policies and are much more a decoration” (EC 2009, p. 99). In the UK, the Consumer Panel, established 2003 alongside Ofcom as an independent advisory board representing the interests of consumers and the public, faces significant constraints to its operational independence. Critics labelled the Panel as the “Industry Backside Protection Unit,” because consumers, on whose behalf it operates, do not have a meaningful voice within the organisation (Freedman and Schlosberg 2011, p. 78). Overall, in almost all of the 28 EU member states, non-state actors are involved in the state regulation process through co-regulation mechanisms, as well as through membership in decision-making and advisory bodies of the MRAs and PSB providers.

Regulatory culture The findings of the descriptive analysis show that EU member states differ in the roles they assign to civil society and economic actors with respect to the implementation of regulatory objectives. The variations depend on the media regulation culture or style within the states (Arnold 2014).3 According to Schulz and Held (HBI 2006, p. 119), “co-regulation depends to a large extent on ‘weak’ factors like the regulatory culture within a state or among the industry within the respective branch.”

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A characteristic feature of the media regulation culture in EU member states such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria is that they act in keeping with the light touch principle of the EU. According to this principle, the state regulatory measures are supported effectively through the establishment of co-regulation models, where regulatory tasks are increasingly transferred to the regulated enterprises themselves. In these states, the future viability of the media and economic policy considerations, such as safeguarding national interests with respect to locations, play a major role. The state enacts rules that take into account the needs of the national private and public media enterprises. For this purpose, media policy decisions are made and enforced in coordination with media enterprises. Various forms of cooperation with the media enterprises are used to this end. In respect of legal protection of minors and regulation of advertising, co-regulative approaches can be found in these states. This mainly affects not only linear broadcasting but also non-linear audiovisual and online media. According to Schulz and Held (HBI 2006, p. 119), those countries “that are known for innovative regulatory concepts which are worked out in collaboration with industry get a high rating in the conducted impact assessment.” Other forms of cooperation are the use of soft measures by the MRA, such as prior consultations, or informal arrangements with the media enterprises are common in these countries. Further, in approval procedures involving Public Value Tests and Market Impact Assessments, private media enterprises, as well as civil society representatives, are consulted and given the opportunity to participate. This means that the interests of the industry are taken into consideration. At the same time, public service activities become more strongly linked back to societal needs. EU member states such as France, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden tend towards having an interventionist media regulation style. For instance, these countries grant extensive direct subsidies to newspaper publishers and use broadcasting and production quotas to ensure that social needs are addressed and the national culture is strengthened. Accordingly, a common fundamental key objective consists in the promotion of media content of social and cultural significance, not least in collaboration with civil society actors. In the Scandinavian states of Denmark and Sweden, “policy formation is usually carried out in an incremental fashion reaching a negotiated parliamentary consensus, which involves multilateral bargaining with a number of participating stakeholders” (Lund and Berg 2009, p. 32). Lund and Berg (2009, p. 35) argue that “trust among the stakeholders of co-regulatory regimes grows out of a long, historical development based on relatively uniform civil society norms that promote domestic diversity.” In some eastern European countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic and the Baltic States, as well as in the microstates Cyprus, Malta and Luxembourg, state interventions are kept to a minimum and the media enterprises are largely left to their own devices. Private actors, therefore, are afforded a large amount of leeway concerning the implementation of regulatory objectives. Such leeway is only limited by state actors and MRAs if self-regulation seriously fails. The state thus relies on a self-regulation model. This approach is in keeping with the


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way these states see themselves as refraining from obstructing the development of individuals and market forces. Thus, legal connections between private and state regulation in the form of co-regulation do not exist in the Baltic States and in Poland. The Baltic States are eminently typical representatives of this type of (non-)regulatory culture. There do, however, exist elements of liberal corporatism in “how consensus among different groups in society is achieved and how decisions are handled in different media-regulating institutions” (Balčytienė 2009, p. 41) such as supervisory or consulting bodies of the MRAs as well as PSB providers. For example, state actors in Estonia are anxious not to exhaust or exceed their authority because there is strong resistance from private and civil society actors to any form of media regulation, especially with respect to online media (Loit 2013, pp. 76–78). In the microstates of Cyprus, Malta and Luxembourg, there is scarcely any need for regulation because of the small market size and the low numbers of providers. In some southern and eastern European countries such as Bulgaria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Portugal and Greece, media regulation is typified by informal and clientelistic relationships between the political decision-makers, the regulators and the regulated media companies. Moreover, there often exist personal ties between political actors and media owners. An aspect common to these states is an authoritarian past. The end of the dictatorships and the collapse of the communist systems have shaped the development of the media structures and media regulation. For instance, social upheaval was followed by major reservations about any kind of state regulation and intervention. The media were anxious to secure their autonomy from the state. At the same time, the media often were privatised in a frantic and disorderly manner. This development resulted in the emergence of media enterprises that owned a large proportion of the media and were able to exert political pressure themselves. To secure their economic position, they forged informal alliances with the political actors who prevented strict regulation (Školkay et al. 2011, p. 40; Smilov and Avădani 2012, p. 79). Against this backdrop, it is possible that the introduction of co-regulatory measures that has taken place in all of these states is leading to a situation, in which it is not the self-responsibility of the enterprises that is being strengthened, but their economic interests and existing ties. Essentially, EU member states differ in relation to their view of what role is to be afforded to organised social groups and economic actors when regulatory objectives are being negotiated and implemented. They also differ with respect to their view of how large the influence of the state can be allowed to become while still ensuring the independence of the media.

Conclusion In summary, the comparison shows that most EU member states include forms of regulation that are generally innovative as both industry and social groups have greater involvement. In 19 out of 28 EU member states, legal links exist

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between state and non-state regulation. In three quarters of all EU member states, civil society representatives are involved in supervisory or advisory bodies of the MRAs as well as PSB providers. The EU member states enable the dispersal of power downward. Their MRAs work together with industry, civil society and the public in a more flexible manner. They play a “key role in the coordination of such expanded regulatory instruments as co-regulation and in the coordination and implementation of ‘softer’ measures to promote social and cultural policy objectives” (Lunt and Livingstone 2012, p. 33). The large number of new media services, the specific technical features and the borderless nature of Internet-based media are reasons for involving the industry (Latzer 2007, p. 163) in the co-regulation process. On the one side, there are models of co-regulation allowing the industries to find their own solutions; they are faster, more flexible and gain more legitimacy than pure state regulation. However, the state retains operational supervision and must guarantee the fulfilment of the regulatory goals (HBI 2006, 119). On the other side, it may be argued that co-regulation tends to favour private industry interests rather than public interests and civil society is rarely included (Wenzel et al. 2016, p. 95). A comparatively small set of industry actors that are generally well organised can dominate media policy and regulation processes (HBI 2006, 125). Of course, it is necessary for state actors and regulatory agencies to work with the major digital media platform providers to ensure that they meet minimum safeguards (Flew 2015). In contrast, the sphere of civil society traditionally has not been very strong in the field of media in Europe. Therefore, civil society actors should have the opportunity to voice their concerns and influence policy outcomes. Given the dominance of digital companies such as Google and Facebook, governance mechanisms should ensure that the concerns of non-governmental groups and online communities that have no commercial interests are supported (Mansell 2016). It can be concluded that most EU member states tend to act in accordance with the “light touch” principle of the EU’s AVMSD. According to this principle, state regulation will gradually be eased and regulatory measures will be supported through the establishment of co-regulation models. Therefore, the recommendation in the EU’s AVMSD could have stimulated the establishment of co-regulatory systems in national media policies. Moreover, the study shows that the EU’s hierarchical intervention in the policies of the member states does not lead to uniform effects, because the member states react in different ways and adopt nation-specific approaches to the legal and practical implementation of the provisions stipulated by the EU. For instance, the EU member states are compelled to take greater account of EU competition law when making decisions in respect of the online activities of their PSBs. These are now required to have more comprehensive accountability and must demonstrate more sensitivity to the market influence of their new services (Humphreys 2011, p. 105). Only eleven EU member states have developed an elaborate procedure to assess the added public value of new services and offerings. A positive aspect is that, even as early as the development of new offerings, greater consideration


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is given to societal needs as well as to the impact on the market. In addition, open consultations enable greater involvement of private competitors and social organisations, which can introduce concepts and different positions into the procedure. At the same time, this measure increases the transparency of the procedure and enhances the proportionality of the online involvement of the PSB providers (Arnold 2014). Overall, despite the impact of EU regulations and processes of technical convergence and digitisation, nation-specific politico-legal factors and distinct media regulation styles continue to exist and account for the differences.

Notes 1 The examination was originally carried out in the context of the author’s doctoral thesis (Arnold 2014), and has been updated for this chapter. In the thesis, the character and features of national media regulatory regimes were examined against the backdrop of transnational processes such as digitisation and Europeanisation. The study reveals what media regulation measures the EU member states use to exert an influence on their mass media. The results show, in addition to other findings, that the European states differ in the ways in which they implement the EU requirements, the ways in which they regulate online media and the role they assign to civil society and economic actors with respect to the implementation of regulatory objectives. 2 For Belgium, data on the media regulation measures were collected separately for the French community (BE FR) and for the Flemish community (BE FL). The two communities each have their own rules and institutions. Consequently, a major part of the media regulation falls within the competence of the communities (Roßnagel et al. 2007, p. 148). 3 Regulatory culture or style refers to the different ways in which the EU member states regulate media that are relevant to public communication. Country groups were classified according to the fundamental similarities and differences that had been established in the descriptive analysis of the instruments and forms of media regulation. These country groups are understood as constructed ideal types or models that each represent a particular characteristic of media regulation style (Arnold 2014).

References Antonova, V., and Georgiev, A., 2013. Mapping digital media: Bulgaria. A report by the Open Society Foundations. Available from: http://www.opensocietyfoundations. org/sites/default/files/mapping-digital-mediabulgaria-20130722.pdf Arnold, D., 2014. Medienregulierung in Europa. Vergleich der Medienregulierungsinstrumente und -formen der EU-Mitgliedstaaten vor dem Hintergrund technischer Konvergenz und Europäisierung. Baden-Baden: Nomos. Balčytienė, A., 2009. Market-led reforms as incentives for media change, development and diversification in the Baltic States: A small country approach. International Communication Gazette, 71 (1/2), 39–49. Balčytienė, A., and Juraitė, K., 2016. Media Pluralism Monitor 2016. Country report: Lithuania. Available from: Center for Media and Communication Studies (CMCS), 2012. Hungarian media laws in Europe: an assessment of the consistency of Hungary’s media laws with European

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practices and norms. Available from: De Waal, M., 2011. Mapping digital media: Netherlands. A report by the Open Society Foundations. Available from: files/mapping-digital-media-netherlands-20120118.pdf Directive 2010/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2010 on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services (Audiovisual Media Services Directive). Available from: TXT/HTML/?uri=OJ:L:2010:095:FULL&from=EN European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO), n.d. IRIS Merlin Database on legal information relevant to the audiovisual sector in Europe. Available from: http:// European Commission (EC), 2009. Independent study on indicators for media pluralism in the member states. Towards a risk-based approach. Final report. Available from: European Commission (EC), 2011. 35th meeting of the Contact Committee. Table on transposition of Article 4(7) of Directive 2010/13/EU (co and self regulation). Available from: table_3.pdf European Platform of Regulatory Authorities (EPRA), n.d. List of members. Available from: Flew, T., 2015. Regulating convergent media. An ongoing policy challenge. In: J. Menadue and M. Keating, eds. Fairness, Opportunity and Security: Filling the Policy Vacuum. Adelaide: ATF Press, 231–238. Freedman, D., 2008. The Politics of Media Policy. Cambridge: Polity. Freedman, D., and Schlosberg, J., 2011. Mapping digital media: United Kingdom. A report by the Open Society Foundations. Available from: http://www.opensocietyfoundations. org/sites/default/files/mapping-digital-mediaunited-kingdom-20110701.pdf Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI), 2006. Study on co-regulation measures in the media sector. Final report. Available from: cfm?action=display&doc_id=5358 Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI), 2011. Study on indicators for independence and efficient functioning of audiovisual media services regulatory bodies for the purpose of enforcing the rules in the AVMS Directive. INDIREG final report. Available from: Helles, R., Søndergaard, H., and Toft, I., 2011. Does media policy promote media freedom and independence? The case of Denmark. MEDIADEM case study report. Available from: Humphreys, P., 2011. Regulierung des Fernsehens und das “Kulturpolitische Toolkit”: Frankreich, Deutschland und Großbritannien im Vergleich und die EU-Dimension. In: H. Kleinsteuber and S. Nehls, eds. Media Governance in Europe. Regulierung, Partizipation, Mitbestimmung. Wiesbaden: VS, 91–109. Jedrzejewski, S., 2013. The media regulation in age of convergence. In: H. Sousa et al., eds. Media Policy and Regulation. Activating Voices, Illuminating Silences. Braga: CECS, 97–110. Latzer, M., 2007. Unordnung durch Konvergenz – Ordnung durch Mediamatikpolitik. In: O. Jarren and P. Donges, eds. Ordnung durch Medienpolitik? Konstanz: UVK, 147–167.


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13 EMERGING STRUCTURES OF CONTROL FOR ALGORITHMS ON THE INTERNET Distributed agency – distributed accountability Florian Saurwein

Algorithms on the Internet: application, relevance, risks Recent developments in economy and society are subject to far-reaching changes that are shaped by digitisation, mobile communication, big data, algorithms and artificial intelligence. Among these ICT trends, a phenomenon of increasing relevance is “algorithmic selection” (Latzer et al. 2014, 2016). Algorithmic selection is the technological foundation of several Internet applications, such as search engines, news aggregators, recommender systems and scoring services, as well as monitoring and forecasting applications. In the context of the Internet, algorithms are abstract programme procedures, which are employed in software programmes to screen data, assign relevance to information, select elements and put them in order. The social relevance of algorithmic selection is caused by its spread into a variety of social domains and economic sectors. Algorithms are ubiquitous. They are applied in a broad range of areas, such as e-commerce, stock exchanges, the insurance business, social media, security and surveillance, politics, education and science, logistics and traffic, employment and the labour market and public health (Steiner 2012a; Latzer et al. 2014). Algorithms matter. They determine which information is displayed to whom on the Internet (Bucher 2012; Beam 2014). In some fields, such as algorithmic trading and computational advertising, algorithms make decisions and determine the allocation of resources. Some algorithms provide risks assessments that form the basis for decisions such as the granting of credits (credit scoring). Sometimes, algorithms even assume management tasks. Algorithms rule. On service platforms, such as Uber, algorithmic programmes allocate orders automatically (O’Conner 2016). In Hong Kong, a venture capital firm appointed an algorithm to its board of directors. Just like other members of the board, the programme, called Vital, gets to vote on whether the firm makes an investment in a specific company or not (Wile 2014).

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It is often pointed out that software and algorithms are sources of social order (Beer 2016) and have regulatory powers (Manovich 2013; Gillespie 2014; Pasquale 2015; Ananny 2016). The scientific debate refers to governance by algorithms ( Just and Latzer 2017), “algocracy” (Danaher 2016) and “algorithmic culture” (Striphas 2015). Algorithms are digital all-rounders and deployable in a wide range of ways, but algorithmic selection is also accompanied by social risks – and these are gaining increasing attention. Algorithms threaten. Latzer et al. (2014) consider that the list of risks of algorithmic selection encompasses manipulation, bias, censorship, violation of property rights and privacy, social discrimination, the abuse of market power, effects on cognitive capabilities and an increasing heteronomy of technology. To illustrate risks, authors point to highly controversial applications and developments, for example code that kills (Schuppli 2014), algorithms that forecast life expectancy in order to decide about the usefulness of medical treatments (Solimann 2017) and computer programmes that assess the likelihood of delinquents committing a future crime. ProPublica, the independent, non-profit investigative journalism organisation, pointed to problematic bias and discrimination of African Americans in the area of criminal sentencing (Angwin et al. 2016). In particular, the risks related to discrimination and privacy are often explored. Online shops, platform providers and data brokers systematically collect user data (Christl and Spiekermann 2016) and exploit the data for personalised advertising, recommendations and for price discrimination, which may lead to increased social sorting (Lyon 2003). Others criticise the trends towards a “scored society” (Citron and Pasquale 2014) and workplace surveillance (Rosenblat et al. 2014a). Observers are also concerned by developments in China where a citizens’ score is implemented, which may be used to determine loan conditions, job opportunities and travel rights (Botsman 2017). In Western democracies, increasing attention is being focused on personalisation, filter bubbles, echo chambers (Pariser 2011; Zuiderveen et al. 2016) and computational propaganda (Woolley and Howard 2017). Other risks result from the high velocity of algorithms and vast automated interactions, which lead to increasing automation and decreasing controllability of technologies. Driving forces are artificial intelligence and machine learning (Mackenzie 2015). Applications improve their operations and performance autonomously, for example creating new algorithms. This implies decreasing human influence and control. Warnings about artificial intelligence are expressed prominently by Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, for instance, who argued: “[T]he development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race” (Cellan-Jones 2014). In Germany, the risks of artificial intelligence are problematised by Schirrmacher (2013), who sees a shift of decision power from humans to machines: “[T]he pure co-existence of humans and computers leads to a victory of artificial intelligence.” Helbing (2015) considers that “the automation of society is next,” and in the worst case this may lead to a totalitarian, digital feudalism.


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Algorithms and accountability: theoretical perspectives and practical challenges The increasing influence of algorithmic selection and algorithmic decision making (ADM) demands responsible handling and adequate modes of control. Undesirable developments and damage raise questions of governance and liability. Altogether, the rise of algorithms, their increasing decision power and the risks involved, trigger the debate about appropriate accountability structures and mechanisms. Accountability refers to the obligation or willingness to assume responsibility, to act responsibly and to give account. It describes a relationship in which an individual or an organisation must explain and take responsibility for actions. Accountability refers to a descriptive concept, a social mechanism and may be defined as a “relationship between an actor and a forum, in which the actor has an obligation to explain and to justify his or her conduct, the forum can pose questions and pass judgment, and the actor has to face consequences” (Bovens 2007, p. 450). Hence, accountability goes beyond organisational responsibility and legal liability – and it involves a strong communicative component (questions, justifications). In political science, analysts typically ask who is accountable to whom, for what, by which standards and why (Scott 2000). Questions of accountability in the domain of algorithms are discussed under the term “algorithmic accountability” (e.g. Rosenblat et al. 2014b; Diakopoulos 2015; Ananny and Crawford 2018; Binns 2017). “In popular discussions, algorithmic accountability is framed in terms of openness and transparency, at least theoretically enabling the algorithm, its authorship and consequences to be called to question by those subject to algorithmic decision-making processes” (Neyland 2016). In 2016, researchers drafted Principles for Accountable Algorithms (Diakopoulos et al. 2016) which are intended to help developers and product managers design and implement algorithmic systems in publicly accountable ways. The principles comprise responsibility, explainability, accuracy, auditability and fairness. In academic, popular and political debates, it is often emphasised that governance and accountability in the area of algorithms exhibit several deficits. Kroll et al. (2016) observe that “[t]he accountability mechanisms and legal standards that govern (automated) decision processes have not kept pace with technology.” Liisa Jaakonsaari (2016), a Member of the European Parliament, notices that there is no legislation, best practice or guidance on algorithmic accountability or transparency. In practice, efforts to govern algorithms and hold algorithms to account are confronted with several challenges and barriers. Governance and accountability are hampered, for instance, by (a) the lack of transparency and high complexity of algorithmic systems, (b) the fragmentation and heterogeneity of the involved industries, (c) the increasing autonomy of the technological systems and (d) the increasing distribution of action between humans and machines. The control of algorithms is aggravated because algorithms are not easily accessible. Algorithmic selection often operates on principles and modes of order

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that are opaque and lack transparency. Algorithms and programmes are often business secrets and not available to the public. Moreover, algorithms are not always understandable to laypeople and many people affected by them are not able to hold companies and their algorithms to account. The increasing autonomy of algorithms and the growing connection between technologies promote increasing complexity and decreasing transparency. Even for experts, algorithmically operated processes and decisions are often no longer comprehensible (Knight 2017). Pasquale (2015) therefore talks of a “black box society” with secret algorithms that control money and information. Many have called for more transparency and for the disclosure of algorithms prominently, for instance, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel ( 2016). However, the accessibility of algorithms facilitates manipulation and imitation. Therefore, the debate on algorithmic accountability also includes questions about how algorithms can be controlled without the public disclosure of codes. Another challenge for governance and accountability is the fragmentation and heterogeneity of the industry sectors that make use of algorithmic selection (Saurwein et al. 2015). Algorithmic selection is applied across a broad spectrum of sectors, such as news, advertising, entertainment, commerce, social interaction, traffic and health. This leads to a large number and a strong heterogeneity of involved branches and markets. The higher the number of involved actors, and the stronger the heterogeneity of involved industries, the more difficult it is to negotiate agreements, arrive at common decisions and introduce collective action, for example for industry self-regulation (Saurwein 2011). Moreover, selfregulation is more likely to occur in mature industries with like-minded market players. However, the markets for services that rely on algorithmic selection are often new and experimental, for example algorithmic content production (Dörr 2016), or the developers of algorithmic solutions are newcomers whose aim is to disrupt established market structures and business models. The newcomers explicitly strive for new paths and do not voluntarily comply with traditional industry schemes. Another barrier for governance and accountability is the increasing autonomy of algorithmic systems, driven by enhancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence. Algorithms are referred to as actants, agents and even actors (Latour 2005; Schulz-Schaeffer 2007; Johnson 2011), although the qualification of an algorithm as an actor is disputed (Reichertz 2015). The autonomy of algorithms can be illustrated by their application to the creation of music. David Cope developed a machine-learning algorithm, named Annie, that decides on the musical patterns, the criteria and the path they take to create new music. “The really interesting thing is that I have no idea what she’s going to do sometimes,” Cope says (Steiner 2012b). The increase of automation, autonomy and independence of technology leads to decreasing predictability and controllability and to challenges for governance and accountability. The trend towards autonomy raises the question if technologies themselves can take responsibility and be held to account for their operations and actions, just like human actors.


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This question points to conceptual and practical challenges at the intersection of technology, autonomy and accountability. Finally, the increasing automation and autonomy of technology leads to the distribution of agency between humans and technology (Rammert and SchulzSchaefer 2002; Rammert 2008). Ananny (2016) describes “networked information algorithms” as “assemblage of institutionally situated code, human practice and normative logics.” This “distributed agency” leads to the question of appropriate accountability arrangements for mixed socio-technical constellations (Rammert 2008), in which humans and technology interact and co-evolve. Whether autonomous systems are used to make financial decisions, control transportation or perform military objectives – when something goes wrong, issues of accountability will indubitably arise ( Johnson 2011). “Who will be responsible if a self-driving car hits a pedestrian?” (Elish and Hwang 2015, p. 2). Can humans associated with the use or production of autonomous weapons, notably operators, commanders, programmers and manufacturers, escape liability for the suffering caused by fully autonomous weapons (Human Rights Watch 2015)? If computers themselves can’t be racist, who is accountable if the output is discriminatory (Gourarie 2016)? The problem can be illustrated by the case of the chatbot, Tay. In 2016, Microsoft introduced a machine-learning chat programme that was intended to learn how young people communicate. The attempt had to be stopped because, after conversations with Twitter users, Tay produced hate posts such as “Hitler was right and I hate the Jews” (Vincent 2016). This raises the question of accountability in relation to insulting statements. Can a chat-bot itself assume accountability for “its” statements? Are the human programmers responsible, the company that launches the chat-bot experiment, the platform providers who fail to restrict the dissemination of insulting statements or those users who teach chat-bots racist speech? Altogether, algorithmic accountability is faced with challenges such as the lack of transparency and complexity of technologies, the fragmentation and heterogeneity of the involved industries, the increasing autonomy of the technological systems and the distribution of action between humans and machines. Notwithstanding these conceptual and practical difficulties, there are several proposals and approaches for applying mechanisms of accountability to bots and algorithms. Together, these proposals – as outlined in the following – point to a structure of “distributed accountability” in the domain of algorithmic selection and robotics.

Accountability from a governance perspective This section outlines selected approaches to accountability in the domain of algorithms. The overview centres around the types of actors which may serve as the subjects (carriers) of accountability in the areas of algorithmic selection. The analysis of accountability structures is inspired by the analysis of governance structures for the regulation and control of algorithms (Saurwein et al. 2015).

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Individual and collective actors at the continuum between the market and the state (Latzer et al. 2003), which implement and regulate algorithmic selection (designers, operators, industries/branches, politics), carry joint responsibility for the processes, results and impact of algorithmic selection and form part of an accountability network (Loh 2017). Moreover, the overview points to further elements in accountability constellations, such as entities and instances with control functions (e.g. auditors) and actors who perform functions of critique ( journalism, NGOs). Accountability structures are shaped by the structures of application and control and different groups of actors and roles are associated with different concepts of accountability, such as accountability-by-design or meta-accountability (see Figure 13.1). When it comes to algorithms and robotics, the technology may serve as the starting point for analysis. Technology is usually conceptualised as the passive object of accountability. Human actors assume accountability for the operation of technologies. An active role as a subject of accountability is hardly assigned to technology. One reason for this is that artificial systems lack the abilities necessary for communicating, acting and judging. They either do not have these capabilities at all or can only exert them in a functional equivalent mode of operational simulation (Sombetzki 2016). There are ideas, however, which suggest roles for technologies that go beyond the passive conception of technology as an accountability object. Accountability-by-design (Kroll 2016) refers to approaches in which accountability mechanisms are directly implemented into software. Kroll (2016) shows how to use cryptography and software verification to assess algorithms with regard to security, regularity and bias. Built-in tools can make sure that

FIGURE 13.1  Accountability

selection (Source:  own illustration).

concepts in accountability networks for algorithmic


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algorithms provide relevant information on their operations on crucial factors for automated decisions. With such features, accountability-by-design supports accountability principles, such as explainability and auditability. In these cases, algorithms are not only a technical innovation that needs to be held accountable, but they can also contribute to fostering transparency and accountability themselves. In other words, algorithms may serve as media accountability instruments (MAIs) (Fengler et al. 2011). Built-in tools for the documentation of operations are a highly direct way to implement accountability mechanisms into algorithms. However, most approaches suggest locating accountability outside the technology, devolving it to human actors in mixed socio-technical constellations. For instance, Elish and Hwang (2015) assess issues of accountability in the context of autopilots and self-driving cars. They suggest focussing on the network of human actors responsible for the actions of computational agents and reflecting on the agentive roles of designers, engineers and the new kinds of human action attendant to autonomous systems. Another approach for accountability is provided by the role of the users and conceptions of self-responsibility. For instance, the Digital Manifest (Helbing et al. 2015) called for the strengthening of user participation, digital self-determination and for a shift of control powers from companies and central institutions into the hands of the users. Because traditional concepts of top-down control no longer work, a distributed control approach and collective intelligence should gain importance. Modes of distributed control are suggested by complexity science for traffic control. In journalism research, increasing user influence and control is referred to as participatory accountability (Eberwein and Porlezza 2014). Decentralisation involves more local autonomy, responsibility and, thus, accountability of the decentralised decision points. On the other hand, putting the individual in control also shifts the burden to users, for example detecting when technologies run foul (Gangadharan 2016). Another point of entrance for assigning accountability is the group of engineers and developers of algorithmic applications. Because of their central influence on the design and operation of applications, developers are confronted with numerous claims. With regard to accountability, the approach of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) (Koops et al. 2015) can be considered. RRI should promote inclusive and sustainable innovations and the development of innovations according to the needs and values of the society. It demands the early involvement of stakeholders and their social expectations in the innovation processes. One of the results might be value-based design approaches which include ethical objectives in technical designs (Spiekermann 2015; van den Hoven et al. 2015). One of the central actors for the attribution of accountability are the companies which offer services based on algorithmic selection and benefit from these applications. Companies are addressees of demands regarding responsible conduct to avoid errors and undesirable developments – and companies are addressees of liability claims in the event of damages. Sometimes, companies demonstrate accountability by means of corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes

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(Karmasin and Weder 2008). With regard to algorithms, CSR may be considered to anchor principles for accountable algorithms (Diakopoulos and Friedler 2016) in a company. Principles such as responsibility, explainability, accuracy, auditability and fairness may be implemented by means of corporate codes of ethics. From a governance perspective, accountability may be promoted by selforganisation at the company level. Typical facilities include the establishment of internal systems of quality assurance, advisory or ethics boards and ombudsmen to promote corporative communicative responsibility (Weder and Karmasin 2011) and to explain and justify conduct and to give account. Another layer of accountability above the level of single companies are branches and industry sectors. There are options to assume accountability in terms of collective self-regulation of entire industries. Industry associations act as the voices to give account regarding developments in their branches. They often act as hubs for the development of behavioural norms, rules and standards (e.g. codes of conduct) and sometimes they enforce rules on their members. Examples of accountability at the industry level are activities of professional associations, such as national informatics societies, which provide ethical guidelines for the professional activities of IT personnel. At the international level, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) introduced the Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems to develop standards, certifications, codes of conduct and consensus building for the ethical implementation of intelligent technologies (e.g. IEEE 2017). Accountability structures are shaped by the structures of application and control. In technical areas, such as robotics and artificial intelligence, quality and security control by experts plays a central role (auditing). One subject of control is the security of the human–machine interaction, for example in the case of industry bots which physically collaborate with humans. For human–machinecollaboration systems, numerous technical standards are in force that are controlled by expert entities, such as associations for technical inspection. Similar considerations suggest the introduction of special entities and measures for the inspection of algorithms (Mayer-Schönberger and Cukier 2013). Terms such as algorithm auditing and algorithmic auditing refer to the control of operations and risks of programmes based on algorithms. In Germany, for instance, the Minister of Justice suggested the establishment of an “Algorithm-TÜV” (Maas 2015). Critics of this idea point out that the hazardous implications of algorithms are often not primarily caused by technology but by business models, and that limiting inspections to technical features is therefore insufficient. Moreover, an inspection is only a snapshot: it does not capture the dynamic nature of applications that constantly improve by machine learning. Against the background of accountability concepts, associations for technical inspection are instances of accountability that – like courts – make decisions about the conformity of technical artefacts with defined standards (e.g. security, fairness, privacy protection). With this function as an accountability instance, recognised bodies for technical inspection differ from other actors in the domain of algorithm auditing.


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Further relevant actors in the area of auditing are experts, journalists and NGOs that observe algorithms and their problematic implications. For example, academic research increasingly becomes aware of algorithms and conducts audits and critical assessments of applications (Sandvig et al. 2014a). So far, a broad range of services for recommendation, price formation, news and search are assessed with respect to risks such as fraud, discrimination and bias (e.g. Edelman 2011; Bozdag 2013; Hannak et al. 2014; Sandvig et al. 2014b; Mittelstadt 2016). Also, tracking, surveillance and privacy protection are subject to critical academic research with the aim of improving fairness, accountability and transparency. Diakopoulos (2015) demonstrates options for investigative journalism in the form of algorithmic accountability reporting. In practice, investigative projects in the United States (The Marshall Project, ProPublica) revealed discrimination and bias in sensitive areas such as risk scores in criminal sentencing (Angwin et al. 2016). Other forms of external control are provided by critical expertise in specialised NGOs, such as the Foundation for Responsible Robotics, and by Algorithm Watch in Germany. These initiatives advocate responsible technological developments in accordance with social and ethical standards. They strive to promote transparency, to increase public awareness and sensitivity to problematic implications and to contribute to the formation of a critical public sphere vis-à-vis corporate interests. In terms of accountability conceptions, experts, journalists and other NGOs do not act as subjects of accountability but as part of the “forum” that raises those critical questions that demand answers and justifications by the actors in charge. Moreover, they are often involved in the development and establishment of ethical, professional and legal standards in the area of robotics, algorithms and artificial intelligence. Since accountability structures are shaped by the structures of application and control, the state and public authorities also belong to the accountability network. Public authorities develop and operate algorithmic applications. Hence, state authorities are themselves the subjects of accountability. Algorithmic selection is used, for example, by the police (predictive policing, fraud detection), the secret service (hazard identification) and the judiciary (criminal sentencing). However, the responsibility of the state reaches beyond this direct accountability to a level of meta-accountability, that is the duty of the government to ensure an adequate regulatory framework to minimise the risks and foster the benefits of automation, robotics and artificial intelligence. There are, for example, regulations for the protection of privacy, property rights, freedom of speech and competition, and protections against manipulations that apply to algorithmic selection (Saurwein et al. 2015). Governance also encompasses information and education, as well as the establishment of institutions for public deliberation in fields of application with strong ethical implications. In the area of automation, for example the German government established an ethics commission for autonomous driving, which is composed of experts of industry, science and professional associations. Finally, state regulation may also serve to allocate and assign rights and duties with regard to accountability to particular types of actors. In the domain of

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algorithms, for example, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) mandates a “right to explanation” of all decisions made by automated or artificially intelligent algorithmic systems to enhance the accountability and transparency of automated decision-making. However, some experts (e.g. Wachter et al. 2017) doubt both the legal existence and the feasibility of such a right. Another area with challenges for accountability is robotics. The difficulties regarding the assignment of responsibility for damages in robotics did lead to the idea to assign liability to the robots themselves (e.g. Beck 2012). Recently, the European Parliament (2017) picked up a suggestion for the status of an electronic person on the occasion of recommendations to the European Commission on civil law rules on robotics. Autonomous robots should have particular rights and duties, which also encompass redress and compensation in the case of damages. As in the case of legal entities, machines could also form a union with assets, fuelled by an insurance (Hilgendorf 2012). Critics argue that this approach falls short because future autonomous objects, such as self-driving cars, will be interconnected via cloud services and it is not reasonable to delimit robots by their physical form. For this reason, there are also limitations for the application of the idea of an electronic person in the area of immaterial and interconnected algorithms. Moreover, the status of an electronic person would address accountability issues only in terms of liability and redress. However, electronic people cannot fulfil communicative requirements, such as justification and giving account. As a legal and organisational construct, the idea of an electronic person – similar to the concept of co-regulation (Latzer et al. 2003) or graduated accountability (Funiok 2002) – points to options to involve multiple actors in accountability relations. At the same time, however, there is the danger that human actors comfortably pass responsibility to faceless entities, like an electronic person.

Summary and conclusions Recent developments in economy and society are subject to far-reaching changes that are shaped by automation, digitisation, mobile communication, big data, robotics and artificial intelligence. Among these technology trends, one phenomenon of increasing relevance is “algorithmic selection” (Latzer et al. 2016), which builds the technological foundation for several Internet applications, such as search engines, news aggregators, recommender systems and scoring services as well as monitoring and forecasting applications. The social relevance of algorithmic selection is caused by its wide and rapid diffusion and its increasing influence in a variety of social domains and economic sectors. Algorithms are ubiquitous. They are applied in a broad range of areas, such as e-commerce, stock exchanges, the insurance business, social media, security and surveillance, politics, education and science, logistics and traffic, employment and the labour market, and public health. In their fields of application, algorithms matter. They screen data, assign relevance to information and structure information, communication, transaction


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and decision processes. They determine, for instance, which information is displayed to whom on the Internet. Algorithms are involved in the construction of realities; they shape our tastes and our culture, and are a source of social order. In some fields of application, algorithms make decisions and determine the allocation of resources, for example in areas of algorithmic trading and computational advertising. Sometimes, algorithms provide risks assessments that form the basis for relevant decisions, such as the granting of credits (credit scoring). Sometimes, algorithms even assume management tasks. On service platforms, such as Uber, algorithmic programmes allocate orders automatically. Thus, an algorithm is a quasi boss for many drivers – algorithms rule. Algorithms are digital all-rounders and deployable in a wide range of ways. They quantify the relevance of websites, sort news, recommend books, music and partners, allocate advertisements, choose prices and travel routes, determine the reputations of individuals and businesses, detect and predict crime and process an immense number of transactions. With this wide range of functions, algorithms create socio-economic benefits. Indeed, the use of information provided online is impossible without advanced selection tools. Algorithms contribute to the management of information overload, reduce information asymmetries, search costs and increase market transparency. For businesses, algorithmic selection offers substantial economic opportunities, for example the potential of monitoring and forecasting consumer preferences and behaviour. However, algorithmic selection is accompanied by social risks that are gaining increasing attention by journalism, arts and science. Algorithms threaten, and the list of risks of algorithmic selection encompasses manipulation, bias, censorship, violation of property rights and privacy, social discrimination, the abuse of market power, effects on cognitive capabilities and an increasing heteronomy of technology. These risks point to violations of ethical norms, such as fairness, transparency, truth and humaneness, that may be jeopardised by automated algorithmic selection. The rise of algorithms, their increasing influence and the risks involved trigger the debate about appropriate modes of control. One the one hand, there is the increasing influence of algorithmic selection that demands responsible handling of these powers and adequate forms of accountability. On the other hand, the risks of algorithmic selection increase the call for regulatory reaction and provide the justification for governance by means of regulatory intervention or alternative modes of governance. In practice, efforts to govern algorithms and hold algorithms to account are faced with several challenges – and even barriers. Governance and accountability are hampered, for instance, by the lack of transparency and complexity of algorithmic systems, the fragmentation and heterogeneity of the involved industries, the increasing autonomy of the technological systems and the increasing distribution of action between humans and machines. Among other issues, it is discussed as to whether and how technical artefacts like algorithms can be involved in accountability relations. Analysis at the intersection of algorithms, action and accountability reveals that action is increasingly distributed between humans and machines in hybrid socio-technical constellations.

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Based on machine learning and artificial intelligence, programmes increasingly make decisions autonomously. Thus, the conceptions of action and agency can also be applied to (semi-)autonomously operating algorithms. Algorithms implemented into programmes are able to act, but they cannot assume comprehensive responsibility and accountability for their own operations. They cannot explain or justify their action and they cannot function as the sole subject of accountability in each situation. However, algorithms can be involved in accountability relations. They can be programmed in a way to fulfil certain tasks that support and enhance accountability (accountability-by-design). Thus, algorithms may serve as MAIs, but this role and its potential have not been sufficiently explored in media accountability research to date (Eberwein et al. 2018). The overview of accountability structures in the domain of algorithms points to many actors who are involved in the governance of algorithms. From a governance perspective, I argue in this chapter that accountability structures are shaped by application structures and the structures of control of algorithms. Individual and collective actors who invent, implement, use, regulate or control algorithms bear responsibility for processes, results and impacts of algorithmic selection. Together, they form part of the accountability network (Loh 2017). In the domain of algorithms, this network is formed by users, service providers, developers, technologies, industry associations, experts and the state. These groups of actors are associated with a variety of distinct accountability concepts, comprising self-responsibility (users), accountability-by-design (technologies), responsible research and innovation (developers), corporate social responsibility (companies), algorithmic auditing (experts), accountability reporting (journalism) and meta-accountability (the state). The variety of involved parties, the distribution of action and the broad spectrum of accountability conceptions point to a structure of “distributed accountability” in the domain of algorithmic selection, which is caused by the pluralisation of application and governance structures. This structure of distributed accountability demands further attention – inter alia regarding the tension between the conjunction and delimitation of accountability. Most notably, from a governance perspective, there is a necessity to interlink governance mechanisms that mutually complement, presuppose and enable each other (Saurwein et al. 2015). However, from an accountability perspective, these interlinkages provide challenges for the delimitation and assignment of accountability between the multiple actors involved in the design, application and governance of algorithms. A distributed accountability in accountability networks may lead to a confusion of accountability and shirking of responsibility. If all involved parties are responsible in some way, in effect, no one may be ultimately responsible.

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14 ENSURING ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY IN NETWORKED JOURNALISM A critical analysis of collaborations between whistleblowing platforms and investigative journalism Colin Porlezza and Philip Di Salvo Introduction In October 2017, Time magazine included WikiLeaks in its own ranking of the 15 most influential websites of all time (Fitzpatrick et al. 2017). Undoubtedly, WikiLeaks has established itself as the most powerful whistleblowing platform ever launched over the Internet. A whistleblowing platform is a website designed and operated with the aim of attracting and soliciting leaks from whistleblowers online, relying on encryption software to shield and anonymise communications. WikiLeaks pioneered this approach with its own encrypted submission system – and now that strategy has also been embodied by GlobaLeaks and SecureDrop, the most adopted whistleblowing submission software. Different organisations are now relying on this software to operate their platforms, including journalistic outlets of different kinds. Ten years after the launch of WikiLeaks, platforms of this kind are a common strategy in the current networked information ecosystem and they play a crucial role in making investigative journalism more secure in times of pervasive surveillance. Whistleblowing platforms can also be considered as a clear example signalling the expansion of the boundaries of journalism (Carlson and Lewis 2015) and of its hybridisation with other cultures and ethics, those of hacking in this case (Di Salvo 2016). From 2016 on, WikiLeaks has been the target of extensive criticism in the wake of the diffusion of thousands of emails coming from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and John Podesta hacks. Allegedly, the hack against the DNC servers was perpetrated by Russian-controlled hackers and the diffusion of the stolen data was intended as an information warfare operation to influence the US public sphere in the context of the 2016 Presidential elections. Julian Assange denied any connection with the Russian intelligence and declared his source was not a state actor.

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In the context of the DNC hack and leak, and consistently with its own policies, WikiLeaks decided to dump thousands of emails in different releases without filtering the content and without applying any substantial editorial choice or filtering on what to share. The organisation was harshly criticised for this decision and for its lack of scrutiny and transparency in explaining its own decisions (Renner 2016; Tufecki 2016). The release of the hacked DNC and John Podesta emails through WikiLeaks is one of the most powerful examples of what Coleman (2016) has defined as public interest hack, “a computer infiltration for the purpose of leaking documents that will have political consequence.” In this context, whistleblowing platforms are called to provide a crucial accountability effort so that they are not weaponised by hackers or whistleblowers willing to expose information according to their own agendas, which may also be malignant, highly political and partisan. Otherwise, as journalist Joseph Cox puts it (2017), the potential risk for reporters is “to become a puppet” of the perpetrators of the releases and the leakers and be instrumentalised by them as megaphones over the Internet and the media agenda.

Networked journalism and the role of whistleblowing platforms The notion of “networked journalism” has been debated for ten years now (see van der Haak et al. 2012) and has shaped some of the most important trajectories in journalism’s evolution. Originally theorised to express the relationship between professional journalists and their amateur citizen counterparts, as well as the potential involvement of the public in the reporting process in the wake of the raising of the once-called “2.0” digital tools, the concept of networked journalism still maintains its relevance in assessing change and innovation within and at the borders of journalism. The importance of the notion of network is given by the fact that it continuously expanded and brought new spheres, actors, professional roles and cultures into journalism, creating a new networked news ecosystem (Bowman and Willis 2003) – which is why the boundaries of journalism are now at the core of this debate. Because of this constant process of evolution, hybridisation and re-mixing, some have proposed analysing and studying journalism as “a profession in a permanent process of becoming” (Deuze and Witschge 2017, p. 177). One of the crucial elements of the networked phase of journalism that make it in a permanent process of becoming is its own “permeability” (Beckett 2008, p. 48). If this was initially to be understood in economic terms as the reason for the fall of some of the barriers for launching a journalistic venture, it is also a vector for explaining what has happened to the boundaries of journalism and its own definition in the digital age. New actors, some of whom do not have a classically intended affiliation with journalism, have entered the sphere of journalism, inevitably influencing its practices, routines, professional norms and culture. Hackers and hacktivists, among others, are playing an increasingly important part in shaping contemporary journalism and have been

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more and more interested in “work traditionally ascribed to journalists, expanding what it means to be involved in the production of news and, in the process, gaining influence over how traditional news stories and genres are constructed and circulated” (Russell 2016, p. 7). The result is a form of hybridisation that journalistic cases such as the Panama Papers, the Offshore Leaks series and data journalism in general have strongly relied on. Encryption, the importance of which was substantially neglected by journalists until the Snowden revelations in 2013, for instance, has given investigative reporters safer access to source material and reliable storage techniques, while other forms of hacking practices, such as data analysis, coding and scraping, fuelled investigations during the different reporting phases. Russell (2016, pp. 15–18) insists that the collaboration of journalists with hackers and hacktivists brought new “hacktivist sensibilities” into the journalism realm that contributed to the evolution of the traditional journalism culture, up to the point where it is possible to consider these forms of reporting as a “trading zone” (Lewis and Usher 2014) where the crossing of professional boundaries occurs not only more often but is also increasingly accepted. The phenomenon of boundary crossing, as well as the growing forms of hybrid journalism resulting from different professions working together, can be systematically analysed with the help of the concept of boundary work, developed by Thomas Gieryn (1983) in the field of the sociology of science. The theory implies that boundaries emerge as different fields try to claim legitimacy over a specific area of expertise. In other words, the concept of boundary work allows the tensions between different “jurisdictional claims” (Abbott 1988) or spheres of influence to be witnessed. Depending on an increasing or decreasing realm of influence, these boundaries can change over time. Gieryn describes three different categories: a field can invade another one, which is then described as an “expansion,” because the dominating field claims the authority held by other professions (1983, pp. 791–792). Second, “monopolisation” or “expulsion” is used to describe the situation, where rivals are excluded “from within by defining them as outsiders with labels such as ‘pseudo,’ ‘deviant’ or ‘amateur’” (ibid.). In the third category, members of a profession try to avoid boundaries shifting or becoming porous by “protecting the autonomy” of the field against unwelcome intruders (ibid.). The notion of boundary work has only recently been applied to journalism but has been shown to be a fruitful addition to the theoretical toolbox. Carlson (2015, 2016) and Lewis (2012) particularly have adapted Gieryn’s categories to journalism, showing the fundamental struggle between either the expansion of the profession’s boundaries (by including e.g. hackers, programmers or data scientists in the case of data journalism) or the protection of the autonomy, by keeping out unwanted non-professional actors, such as whistleblowing platforms (Carlson and Lewis 2015). However, journalism has always had issues when it comes to the demarcation of its professional boundaries. In many countries, journalism is not even a protected profession with hard criteria by which to differentiate between members of the profession and those outside the discipline (Waisbord 2013).

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Taking all of this together, it becomes clear why journalism, particularly nowadays, faces many challenges in putting up clear boundaries as it becomes increasingly permeable. In recent years, we have been able to witness a growing number of formal and informal efforts to collaborate between professional journalists working in established newsrooms and members of other fields – for instance, in the case of the collaboration between The Guardian and WikiLeaks during the publication of the Afghan war logs in July 2010 and the US embassy cables in December 2010. Since then, many more collaborations have taken place, particularly in the area of investigative journalism (Wahl-Jorgensen 2014). These efforts can be described as attempts at “boundary crossing” (Beckett and Mansell 2008) – where different participants, practices and professional norms, as well as cultures, concur. Whistleblowing platforms and their reliance on encryption software originally coded by hackers are one of the most interesting areas of boundary crossing between journalism and hacking. Whistleblowing platforms are indeed the product of the collaboration of skills coming from the two fields: (1) the hacking sphere provides the technical know-how in handling encryption and coding, while (2) journalists use these affordances to work securely with whistleblowers and launch potential leaks-based investigations. Thus, whistleblowing software such as the Italian GlobaLeaks and the US SecureDrop, both open source, are actants of media innovation in this context and clear markers of boundary work (Westlund and Lewis 2014). They are participating in the hybridisation of networked journalism at two different levels: practical and cultural. At the first level, they are the expression of the introduction of hacking practices to the journalism toolbox and, at the second level, they bring new elements for the culture of journalism to the table, as they are both an “architectural frame-work and a cultural context” (Lewis and Usher 2013). These forms of boundary reporting, which are usually also conducted with a strong “adversarial” journalistic attitude (Zelizer and Allan 2010, p. 2) towards accountability for powerful individuals or organisations, also pose new challenges when it comes to journalistic responsibility and how it has to be shared between players of very different backgrounds and professional roles.

Digital media accountability and responsiveness The concept of media accountability gained strong momentum around five years ago, in the aftermath of both the Leveson Inquiry ( Jempson et al. 2018) and the institution of the EU High Level Group on Media Freedom and Pluralism set up by EU commissioner, Neelie Kroes, in 2011, but it is still a relatively new concept. It should be noted that the history of media accountability is important to understand its implications, particularly in terms of the media’s wider responsibility towards society. Being more socially responsible became an issue for the first time at the beginning of the 20th century, when news organisations in both Europe and the United States became bigger and thus more influential.

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Newspapers, particularly in the Anglo-American world, became increasingly detached from political parties by emphasising professionalism and education, and also by developing central ethical norms, such as objectivity (Schudson 1978). These circumstances allowed the media – and journalism in particular – to develop its identity as the defender of democracy with “a moral claim to autonomy and non-interference by government” (Christians et al. 2009). In his 1926 book Newspaper Ethics, William Gibson developed a theoretical framework grounded on the social responsibility of the press – a concept that was subsequently used by the Hutchins Commission in 1936 to delineate the term “public interest.” After the publication of the Commission’s report in 1947, the specific responsibility of the press has been referred to regularly, for example in the seminal book The Four Theories of the Press (Siebert et al. 1956) and monographs specifically on the responsibility concept (Blanchard 1977). However, the discussion about the wider implications of the press, in terms of its obligations towards society, was always centred on responsibility, not on accountability. This is also reflected by the report of the Hutchins Commission cited previously: one of the members of the Commission, the Librarian of the Congress, Archibald MacLeish, suggested the report be entitled A Free and Accountable Press, but the term “accountable” was later replaced with “responsible.” Marzolf (1991), in her historic analysis of press criticism in the US, offers an explanation of the change: “Accountability implied some mechanism to enforce standards; responsibility was self-imposed” (Marzolf 1991, p. 166). Marzolf ’s explanation shows both the similarity and the difference between the two concepts. Although both concepts imply an obligation for the quality of the media’s contents and performances towards their stakeholders and, specifically, to their publics (de Haan and Bardoel 2012; McQuail 1997, 2003, 2010; Plaisance 2000; Pritchard 2000; Eberwein and Porlezza 2016), they differ in terms of their enforcement. Hodges (2004, p. 173) explains the difference in an often-quoted paragraph: “The issue of responsibility is: To what social needs should we expect journalists to respond ably? The issue of accountability is: How might society call on journalists to explain and justify the ways they perform the responsibilities given to them? Responsibility has to do with defining proper conduct, accountability with compelling it.” Accountability, therefore, goes beyond the narrow focus on responsibility and concentrates on how this responsibility can actually be implemented (see Fengler et al. 2014). The concept has also gained weight due to the increased number of practices and instruments that are now available thanks to the Internet. Besides, implementing accountability instruments online is no longer a cost-intensive action. The Internet not only facilitates the implementation of accountability practices and instruments, but it also eases the media user’s participation. As the media are increasingly dependent on the contributions of users, leakers or whistleblowers – for instance, when it comes to massive data dumps, as in the case of the Panama or Paradise Papers, or while using participatory research methods, such as crowdsourcing – the concept of responsiveness becomes equally relevant. This

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means that the media not only ought to take into account the public’s concerns and criticisms, but that they are expected to react to it and show engagement – what Brants and de Haan (2010) call civic responsiveness: “taking the public into account by listening and connecting with the public and putting their agenda first.” Even if they might be understood as related concepts, responsiveness and accountability focus on different expectations, as de Haan and Bardoel (2012, p. 18) explain: “The former relates to acknowledgement of public concern by engaging, participating and showing involvement, while the latter means being held accountable by the public for one’s performance.” Responsiveness is relevant to whistleblowing platforms, as they often act as “moral entrepreneurs” (Brants 2013, p. 25), siding not only with whistleblowers but also with the general public, in an anti-establishment, anti-government and activist orientation, supporting victims of persecution and surveillance, often through a critical discourse with respect to governments and surveillance agencies. Being responsive to criticism and open to feedback can also be seen as a specific trait of whistleblowing platforms, to differentiate themselves from other actors, such as government agencies that apply secrecy as their primary norm. The two concepts developed so far – accountability and responsiveness – are related by the fact that they can be understood as processes (McQuail 2010). On the grounds of the technological evolutions, as well as the theoretical reflections laid out previously, Domingo and Heikkilä (2012) developed a model that understands online media accountability by following the different phases of news production. The two authors looked at the different practices that happen before, during and after the production of journalistic contents (see Figure 14.1). In this model, Domingo and Heikkilä split the concept of accountability not only according to the journalistic production cycle but also into practices to improve transparency and those to ameliorate responsiveness: the first phase looks at “actor transparency,” where actors reveal who owns the organisation and what kind of principles and norms (e.g. mission statements or ethic codes) they abide by. Second, the model focuses on “production transparency,” where actors offer an insight into how news production is actually done. The third aspect, “responsiveness,” looks at how news organisations deal with user feedback and criticism, and whether they are open and able to establish a dialogue with their stakeholders, “rendering this interaction meaningful to the public” (Heikkilä

Before the production · Actor transparency FIGURE 14.1 Digital

During the production · Production transparency

media accountability model

(Source:  based on Domingo and Heikkilä 2012).

After the production · Responsiveness

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et al. 2012, p. 55). The model can also be applied to whistleblowing platforms, even if some of the production practices differ from those of news organisations. Nevertheless, the tripartition of the accountability concept along the production phases is useful to establish an overall evaluation of the transparency and responsiveness of whistleblowing platforms, particularly in the light of the growing calls for more transparency and accountability.

Methods This chapter is based on a two-step methodology and four selected case studies. We specifically focused on whistleblowing platforms’ strategies and practices of production transparency as we wanted to analyse how they ensured accountability in networked journalism that crosses the boundaries between professional newsrooms and whistleblowing platforms. For the purpose of this study, which is explorative in its nature, we decided to focus on four platforms operated by different organisations – a watchdog initiative, a major legacy newspaper, an independent investigative reporting group and a free speech NGO – all operating in the broader field of journalism. The aim of this selection was to obtain a sample of different types of whistleblowing platforms, to cover different expressions of the same principle. However, this is not an all-inclusive study and consequently does not cover all the potential types of whistleblowing platforms. In addition, we included platforms from different cultural backgrounds and political contexts, to analyse whether there are any specific differences, not in terms of their everyday practice but with regard to the accountability of their platforms. The four case studies are PubLeaks1, IrpiLeaks2, MagyarLeaks3 and Die Zeit’s Briefkasten4, four whistleblowing platforms with different editorial strategies and backgrounds. With the exception of Die Zeit’s Briefkasten, all operate with the open-source software GlobaLeaks, which allows and ensures anonymous whistleblowing activities. PubLeaks is a Dutch platform launched by NGO Free Press Unlimited. The platform, consistent with the “multi-stakeholder” approach to online whistleblowing, relies on more than 40 Dutch media partners that serve as leak recipients for the whistleblowers approaching the platform. PubLeaks itself only offers the technological infrastructure and has no role in how leaks are published. IrpiLeaks is an Italian platform, and, thus, a case from a media system with strong political parallelism, connected with the Investigative Reporting Project Italy (IRPI), a collective of freelance investigative reporters. IrpiLeaks uses its own platform to attract whistleblowers and start investigations that are usually published on cooperating media partners’ news outlets. MagyarLeaks is Hungarian Átlátszó’s platform and is used by the watchdog and journalistic organisation to solicit whistleblowers for potential investigative leads that end in content published on its website. We selected the Hungarian case also because of the difficult political context that might exert an impact on transparency. Briefkasten is Die Zeit’s tool to deal with online whistleblowing: the German weekly has coded its own whistleblowing platform in-house and only its own

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investigative team has access to the leaks it attracts. Leaked material is used by Die Zeit’s newsroom to conduct investigations. As a starting point, we carried out a document analysis (Prior 2003) that focused only on accessible materials on the Web, which included information about mission statements, guidelines or statutes, all available on the platforms’ websites or on those of the hosting organisations. These texts allow an initial understanding of how the platforms describe their own activities and rationale. However, not all the platforms include information on their websites. Briefkasten, for instance, offers a very brief description of their activities on its own page, while a more thorough article can be found on Die Zeit’s Data Blog5. Not all of the platforms are equally exhaustive when it comes to their activities. While PubLeaks limits the description to mostly administrative and legal notes, Átlátszó’s publishes annual reports, where they describe how many submissions the whistleblowing platform received in the last year. Besides the description of their activities, most texts also focus on the importance of anonymity, giving very detailed instructions on how to anonymously upload leaked documents. The platforms’ definitions of their role within (and responsibility towards) society and how to guarantee anonymity is important, in order to understand whether there are any current issues with regard to boundary work: are there any “jurisdictional claims” (Abbott 1988) when it comes to the expansion of the journalistic field? Subsequently, we got in touch with specific actors in leading roles from the different whistleblowing platforms’ teams. We carried out three problem-centred interviews (Witzel 2000) that were conducted over Skype (Hanna 2012) and that lasted from 45 to 60 minutes. At the specific request of the interviewee, the fourth interview could only take place via online chatting. The data gathering phase was conducted between January and December 2015.6 The goal of the interviews was to retrace the ideas of the different actors with regard to networked journalism as well as their personal understanding of the practices of accountability and responsiveness. The combination of document analysis and problem-centred interviews has already been applied and verified in other circumstances, for instance, with regard to self-regulation and the investigation of professional journalistic norms (Porlezza and Splendore 2016). The empirical data used in this chapter was also used in another forthcoming paper by the authors where, instead, a stronger focus on interactivity and actor transparency was applied.

Results Our results show different attitudes and approaches when it comes to the definition of what digital whistleblowing platforms are meant to be and how they should operate in the networked journalism ecosystem. In particular, it is possible to divide them into two general types, consisting of platforms operating with full autonomy and platforms that rely on media partners. The first group includes those organisations that fulfil the whole journalistic process from news gathering

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to publication under their domain, while organisations included in the second group use the platforms to obtain information from whistleblowers only and let media partners publish stories on their outlets. This results in a significant difference when it comes to accountability and transparency. In the case of partnerships, it is possible to talk about a “shared accountability,” since the journalistic process is shared by two different groups and organisations. However, it is also possible to observe two different attitudes when it comes to the contribution to journalism that whistleblowing platforms can provide. Some organisations see themselves as fully publishing outlets using whistleblowing platforms as an additional resource (MagyarLeaks, Die Zeit’s Briefkasten), while others tend to have a more service-oriented attitude, where platforms serve as additional tools for journalists willing to work with whistleblowers (IrpiLeaks, PubLeaks). For platforms included in the second group, the launch of a platform is by itself a journalistic act, although it does not produce journalistic content on its own. In this case, the responsibility of the publication of journalistic stories is given to the news outlets serving as partners, which can be contacted on a caseby-case basis (IrpiLeaks) or because they are involved from the beginning, as happens for the “multi-stakeholder” platforms, such as PubLeaks, which pioneered the approach. It must also be underlined that these “tool” platforms, in addition to not producing journalistic content, also do not publish leaked information, contrary to what WikiLeaks did with its 2016 leaks, for instance. Any outcome of leaking through these platforms, regardless of the publication outlet or the applied editorial choices, will happen after journalistic fact-checking and after verification and contextualisation of the data in classically intended editorial processes and strategies. These two different approaches also define two different roles within the news ecosystem. Platforms that operate independently can be seen as more traditional publishers, although with a stronger innovative attitude confirmed by their adoption of encryption tools, among other factors. MagyarLeaks, for instance, is used internally by the staff of the Hungarian Átlátszó as an information gathering tool for their investigations and all the data obtained through the platform is used internally and verified as it would be if obtained in a more traditional way. Die Zeit’s Briefkasten, instead, is a platform operated by Die Zeit’s investigative unit and is used as a news-gathering tool for content published by the newspaper. Both MagyarLeaks and Die Zeit’s Briefkasten are not autonomous publishing outlets, but they are integrated into their organisations’ workflow and resources. Platforms that are only envisioned as tools, and that provide a service, an encrypted channel to reach out for journalists, also position themselves as “bridges” by offering certain affordances that would not otherwise be available. PubLeaks, for instance, fills a gap in the cybersecurity capabilities of the Dutch media, including small and regional outlets, that may be less keen on investing resources in launching their own cybersecurity strategies. IrpiLeaks is operated by a collective of Italian investigative reporters who do not operate a stand-alone news outlet but rather approach media partners on a freelance basis when they

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have an interesting story to offer. Thus, their whistleblowing platform serves as a news-gathering tool, but it is not a publishing space per se, and its journalistic acts have to be completed with the help of media partners. Still, journalists who are members of the IrpiLeaks collective will also serve as authors of the stories, confirming once more the collaborative spirit of their platform. When it comes to the changes and contributions provided, service-oriented platforms, such as IrpiLeaks and PubLeaks, appear more explicitly in line with the networked asset of the current media ecosystem, since their goal is to provide journalistic-technological infrastructures that journalists can use to ensure that more assets are available for investigative reporting. This means that platforms that do not create journalistic content are now to be considered as part of the ecosystem and that purely technological players contribute to the same ecosystem by creating new spaces for intercultural collaborations. Platforms that are included in more traditional editorial mechanisms, such as those used by Die Zeit and Átlátszó, certainly represent a clear sign of media innovation but do not introduce new standards or players because they are bound to the established production routines of the main news outlets.

Discussion and conclusions In an era of networked journalism, to identify and distinguish who is responsible for what is not always easy. Frequently, the production processes of investigative journalism involve different actors with different role conceptions and normative frameworks. In the case of collaborations between whistleblowing platforms and news media outlets, the results show that, in fact, there are differing understandings of one’s own activities and functions. In turn these understandings have a direct impact on the performance and the possibilities of implementing online media accountability instruments. These conflicting self-conceptions are due to the diverse structures, for example, with regard to the organisational embedding and autonomy but depend on the notion that the actors have of their place within the new networked news ecosystem. In terms of boundary work, this means that this chapter’s object of study allows us to observe the different jurisdictional claims between whistleblowing platforms and investigative journalism with regard to the establishment of their professional boundaries. The results of the analysis show that some of the whistleblowing platforms see themselves as being completely autonomous, which can be seen in a specific service orientation. These whistleblowing platforms understand themselves as an additional tool offered to investigative journalists in terms of information delivery (obtained directly from anonymous whistleblowers) and encryption. Both IrpiLeaks and PubLeaks function as “bridges” by offering certain services to different stakeholders, for instance, news outlets that are unable or unwilling to implement or pay for issues such as cybersecurity. Or, in other cases, they accomplish this function when freelancers look out for potential publication partners. Other platforms are not autonomous in their organisational setting but are either

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part of established media outlets or have a clearly defined goal as publishers. This is the case for MagyarLeaks and Die Zeit’s Briefkasten, which define themselves as publishing outlets – even if they operate within the parent organisation, being thus dependent on their resources and production routines. This is why the latter represents more of a highly specialised unit within a traditional news organisation. The organisational setting influences not only the normative framework of the different actors but also the ability to establish accountability and transparency instruments. Those platforms that are part of a larger news media outlet tend to apply the norms and practices of the parent company’s newsroom, particularly as they see themselves as publishing outlets performing journalistic activities. In the case of the autonomous organisations, such as IrpiLeaks and PubLeaks, the situation is quite different as their collaborators’ role conceptions differ from those of journalists. This situation demonstrates the complex condition of networked journalism, especially in terms of ethical frameworks, as different actors with different backgrounds and cultures are collaborating, in order to assure a smooth journalistic production process. In these circumstances, the notion of “shared accountability” becomes relevant, as different actors have to coordinate and harmonise their responsibilities with regard to accountability and transparency. Shared accountability means that the involved parties have to negotiate how the responsibilities of each step of the networked production process are divided between the collaborating institutions and how each participant can be held to account for its activities. This does not mean that the involved parties have to have a common ethical framework, but it entails a common understanding of each and everyone’s normative assumptions – even if they differ – on which to build a collaboration. This also includes the discussion of different accountability instruments before, during and after the production process, as demonstrated in Domingo and Heikkilä’s (2012) model, and the application to all the partners involved. Both whistleblowing platforms and news media organisations have to decide, for instance, who will respond to questions from their respective stakeholders about how the leaked information was obtained or how the journalistic investigation was specifically carried out. In terms of boundary work, while the collaborations between autonomous whistleblowing platforms and news organisations represent examples of boundary crossing, the discussions between these actors are specific examples of “trading zones” (Lewis and Usher 2014), where normative assumptions as well as cultural references are negotiated, in order to avoid any reputational or legal harm to the involved institutions. This could be observed during the negotiations between Julian Assange and The Guardian with regard to the Afghanistan and Iraq war logs, the embassy cables and the personal files from Guantanamo prisoners (Lundberg 2011, pp. 5–6). However, where these negotiations fail, the collaboration might well be doomed – as was once more the case between WikiLeaks and The Guardian (Katz 2011):

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The froideur between Assange and the Guardian is disappointing because, in so many ways, the collaboration over the leaked war logs and embassy cables was a model of what traditional media and the new breed of digital subversive can achieve together. Assange brought a trove of raw data and a considerable degree of savviness about how to work with vast, complex databases – and, not insignificantly, the ability to publish outside the reach of any individual jurisdiction. The Guardian and other media partners brought the old-fashioned journalistic skills and deep expertise required to figure out what mattered – and the resources (some 40 Guardian reporters worked on the cables alone) and commitment to deal with highly sensitive material responsibly. As roles and identities among professional journalists are shifting, so are the organisational structures of news production (Chadwick 2013). In turn, these changes entail a shift in the boundaries of the profession, enabling the development of hybrid forms of (investigative) journalism, where truth is found through collaboration (Ward and Wasserman 2010, p. 282). The fact that some news outlets have decided to include whistleblowing platforms in their organisational structure confirms the trend towards the expansion of the journalistic field by including professions such as hackers, programmers or data and cybersecurity experts which were, until a couple of years ago, outside journalism. That this is also happening at an increasing rate within mainstream global news outlets such as The Washington Post, The Guardian and The New York Times – all of them have adopted whistleblowing platforms (Berret 2016) – is another indicator of the expansion of the journalistic field as well as the growing hybridisation of journalism.

Notes 1 Available from: 2 Available from: 3 Available from: 4 Available from: kasten/index.html 5 See 6 The interviews were conducted in parallel to Philip Di Salvo’s data gathering for his PhD dissertation. The interviews with the platforms included in this chapter were extended on purpose to include questions relevant to this study.

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Hodges, L., 2004. Accountability in journalism. Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 19 (3-4), 173–180. Jempson, M., Powell, W., and Reardon, S., 2018. United Kingdom: Post-Leveson, media accountability is all over the place. In: T. Eberwein, S. Fenger and M. Karmasin, eds. The European Handbook of Media Accountability. London and New York: Routledge, 277–284. Katz, I., 2011. Pioneering WikiLeaks collaboration ended in distrust and legal threats. Available from: wikileaks-collaboration-distrust-legal-threats Lewis, S. C., 2012. The tension between professional control and open participation. Information, Communication & Society, 15 (6), 836–866. Lewis, S. C., and Usher, N., 2013. Open source and journalism. Toward new frameworks for imagining news innovation. Media, Culture & Society, 35 (5), 602–619. Lewis, S. C., and Usher, N., 2014. Code, collaboration, and the future of journalism: a case study of the Hacks/Hackers global network. Digital Journalism, 2 (3), 383–393. Lundberg, K., 2011. Friend or Foe? WikiLeaks and the Guardian. Available from: https:// pdf?x20117 Marzolf, M. T., 1991. Civilizing Voices: American Press Criticism 1880–1950. New York: Longman. McQuail, D., 1997. Accountability of media to society: principles and means. European Journal of Communication, 12 (4), 511–529. McQuail, D., 2003. Media Accountability and Freedom of Publication. Oxford: Oxford University Press. McQuail, D., 2010. McQuail’s Mass Communication Theory. 6th ed. London: Sage. Plaisance, P. L., 2000. The concept of media accountability reconsidered. Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 15 (4), 257–268. Porlezza, C., and Splendore, S., 2016. Accountability and transparency of entrepreneurial journalism. Journalism Practice, 10 (2), 196–216. Prior, L., 2003. Using Documents in Social Research. London: Sage. Pritchard, D., 2000. Holding the Media Accountable. Citizens, Ethics and the Law. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Renner, N., 2016. The symbiotic relationship between WikiLeaks and the press. Columbia Journalism Review, 18 November. Available from: wikileaks_trump_election_ julian_assange.php Russell, A., 2016. Journalism as Activism. Recoding Media Power. Cambridge: Polity. Schudson, M., 1978. Discovering the News. New York: Basic Books. Siebert, F. S., Peterson, T., and Schramm, W., 1956. Four Theories of the Press. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Tufecki, Z., 2016. WikiLeaks isn’t whistleblowing. The New York Times. Available from: ekci&action=click&contentCollection=opinion®ion=stream&module=str eam_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=8&pgtype=collection van der Haak, B., Parks, M., and Castells, M., 2012. The future of journalism: Networked journalism. International Journal of Communication, 6, 2923–2938. Wahl-Jorgensen, K., 2014. Is WikiLeaks challenging the paradigm of journalism? Boundary work and beyond. International Journal of Communication, 8, 2581–2592. Waisbord, S., 2013. Reinventing Professionalism. Journalism and News in Global Perspective. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

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Ward, S. J. A., and Wasserman, H., 2010. Towards an open ethics: Implications of new media platforms for global ethics discourse. Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 25 (4), 275–292. Westlund, O., and Lewis, S. C., 2014. Agents of media innovations: Actors, actants, and audiences. The Journal of Media Innovations, 1 (2), 10–35. Witzel, A., 2000. Das problemzentrierte Interview. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung, 1 (1). Available from: view/1132/2522 Zelizer, B., and Allan, S., 2010. Keywords in News and Journalism Studies. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.


Perspectives: Rethinking the role of the audience


Introduction The digital environment has exponentially multiplied the possibilities for audience participation, not only in terms of commenting on information (Domingo et al. 2008), contributing content (Bruns and Highfield 2012) or sharing it (Robinson and Deshano 2011), but also as members of the public are becoming more committed to demanding quality standards and social responsibility. In this context, the websites of public service media (PSM), a name that better reflects the variety of options provided by the former public service broadcasters (COE 2012), have evolved from structures with a low level of interactivity (Hills and Michalis 2000), designed as a complement to their core offline business (Chan-Olmsted and Ha 2003, p. 599), to platforms intended to provide connected TV content (Vinayagamoorthy et al. 2012, p. 592). This is the result of a convergence process involving new devices and forms of consumption (Lu 2017; Shearer and Gottfried 2017). These changes open up the debate about the role of PSM in the new environment in terms of both adaptation or competition ( Jakubowicz 2007; Lowe and Martin 2014; Sjøvaag et al. 2016) and public service (Lowe et al. 2016; Sehl et al. 2016) – an ethos that some authors regard as being at risk (Lowe and Stavitsky 2016). Apart from the challenges faced by PSM in ensuring their survival and viability ( Jakubowicz 2007), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) considers it necessary to stress that the public are increasingly critical and demanding and “expect more responsiveness, more transparency and accountability and more options for communications and participation” (2014, p. 71). This implies being capable of articulating and balancing the demand for innovation with the legitimacy of public service (Lund and Lowe 2016) and developing “convincing arguments and practical instruments that make its public dimension more explicit


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and transparent on the one hand, and its service dimension more effective and efficient on the other” (Bardoel and Lowe 2007, p. 22). Recent research into PSM has basically focused on the response to technological change and the political and economic conditions of the context (Medina and Ojer 2011; Arriaza et al. 2015; Sehl et al. 2016). Meanwhile, despite the central role of accountability in PSM (Chadwick 2014), little attention has been paid to the channels they provide to stimulate critical dialogue with the public and enable assessment of their activity (O’Neill 2011). This chapter seeks to contribute to the knowledge of this with an analysis of the instruments provided on the corporate websites of ten European PSM to handle viewers’ complaints and their transparency in publishing the results. The selection of the sample is based on the representativeness of the PSM in the country – prioritising state emissions over regional – and the understanding of the working language by the researcher. On this basis, the following corporations were considered: ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen, Germany); BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation, UK); FTV (France Télévisions, France); RAI (Radiotelevisione Italiana, Italy); RTVE (Radio Televisión Española, Spain); RTBF (Radio Télévision Belge Francophone, Belgium); RTP (Rádio e Televisão de Portugal); ORF (Österreichischer Rundfunk, Austria); RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann, Ireland) and SRG SSR (Schweizerische Radio- und Fernsehgesellschaft, Switzerland). The analysis, carried out between October and mid-December 2017, followed two steps: first, the identification of the section to handle complaints on the PSM website1 and, second, the assessment of its content.2 A datasheet has been designed to achieve this end, evaluating these issues: procedure, responsibility and scope of action, publication of results and reports methodology, legal and self-regulatory documents in the section, broadcast programmes dealing with the issue and usage of social networks. In view of the diversity of methods and ways of operating by the PSM, the research is based on a qualitative case study.

Involvement of audiences and accessibility In recent years, transparency and accountability tools have been given a boost in various European countries (Eberwein et al. 2018). These initiatives are part of what Bertrand has called Media Accountability Systems (MAS), “non-state means of making media responsible towards the public” (2000, p. 108). They focus on self-regulation and, ultimately, the responsibility of the media for the quality and content they provide (McQuail 2003, p. 19). Among the accountability mechanisms they make available, which range from press councils to codes of ethics, the media have also created channels to respond to viewers’ complaints and demands. These instances are significant in the case of PSM, which must guarantee values such as pluralism, diversity, quality, social cohesion and universality. In particular, due to their “atypical dual stakeholder composition (civil society and government)” (Nissen 2016, p. 138), a key principle is that “public media belong to a civil society and are accountable to its citizens” (2016, p. 125). In spite of initial reticence to implement

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accountability mechanisms (Bardoel and d’Haenens 2008), the EBU stresses that trust is the foundation of the relationship between PSM and their audiences. “Being trustworthy and reliable must shape every aspect of our approach, from content to organisation,” and this responsibility is greater at a time when “journalism is increasingly at risk” (EBU 2014, pp. 11–12). An analysis of the mediation tools that PSM have provided to respond to the public is crucial at a time when the desire to involve the audience has become an inescapable objective for the media (Batsell 2015). This has two implications: first, overcoming the concept of audience members as mere consumers and highlighting their position as members of the public with communication rights (Bardoel 2007; Hasebrink 2012); second, providing channels to ensure that their voices can be heard (Hasebrink et al. 2007), especially when technology provides the opportunity to establish new participation channels through a wide variety of innovative online instruments (Domingo and Heinonen 2008; Eberwein et al. 2011; Heikkilä et al. 2012; Eberwein and Porlezza 2016). However, there is a degree of consensus among researchers in urging caution regarding the miraculous effects that ease of access may have on enhanced democratic commitment to participation (Holt and von Krogh 2010; de Haan and Bardoel 2012; Eberwein and Porlezza 2014). The EBU is aware of the challenges of the “digital revolution” and stresses the need to guarantee accountability as part of a dynamic that includes listening to audiences and involving them in an ongoing and meaningful debate: We publish our editorial guidelines. We explain. We correct our mistakes. We strive to report on our policies, budgets, editorial choices. We are transparent and subject to constant public scrutiny. We want our audiences to understand the workings of our media organizations. (EBU 2012, p. 5) Most of the actions that the EBU identifies are associated with the task traditionally performed by the news ombudsman, who receives and investigates complaints by readers, viewers and listeners “about accuracy, fairness, balance and good taste in news coverage” and “recommends appropriate remedies or responses to correct or clarify news reports” (ONO 2017). The objectives of both improving quality and enhancing credibility are involved in this activity, which is intended to promote transparency through mediation “between the expectations of the public and the responsibilities of journalists” (ONO 2017). Ombudsmen were first created for the press more than half a century ago and have been used for audiovisual media since 1992 both in Canada, by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and in Switzerland by SRG SSR (Mollerup 2011; Blum and Staub 2017). They are an internal accountability mechanism with a high degree of institutionalisation (Eberwein et al. 2014, p. 139), hence the importance of analysing their existence in the media’s corporate websites. The first condition for the public to be able to play a role in supervision and vigilance of quality and the suitability of content is for PSM to provide the

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channels and information necessary to do so. Corporate websites are the means through which such data are provided and, together with other contact channels (email, a telephone number or a postal address), they are the interface used to do this, generally through a form. These options are linked to the information architecture, the structure of the website, which determines users’ success or failure in locating content or performing a task (Nielsen 2009). Alongside the effectiveness and efficiency that characterise the principle of usability in the digital environment, it is fundamental to take into account the repercussions in terms of transparency and accessibility to readers, which are conditions necessarily associated with accountability. An analysis of the websites shows that, unlike news and promotion of programmes and series, which are on the front page, reader complaints sections are in the “fat footer,” a location that does not equate to being a basic accountability tool for PSM. This is because the title or purpose is not always clearly shown (which RTÉ does with the name Complaints and FTV with Les médiateurs), but instead is in the general sections for contacting the corporation (BBC, RTBF, RAI), quality control (SRG SSR) or institutional information (ZDF, ORF, RSI).

Case studies Taking into consideration the EBU’s guidelines (2012, p. 5) to ensure interaction allowing PSM to be accountable to society, the case studies presented below analyse the specific features of the corporations’ complaints sections, to find out both the mechanisms for handling and resolving complaints, their transparency and the publication of their activity. This includes various tools to deal with public scrutiny and also to make known the organisations’ work, editorial rules and news policies, and how PSM correct errors.

ZDF The body ultimately responsible for handling ZDF audience complaints is the Fernsehrat (TV Council). It is divided up into committees and made up of 60 political and social representatives. It defines itself as the “viewers’ ombudsman.”3 The procedure it follows is regulated by ZDF’s Statute and includes the involvement of the Intendant (General Director), who is responsible for the initial response to the complainant. If the latter disagrees with the response, they may request that the issue be referred to the Council, where the complaints committee delegates it to two rapporteurs who prepare a vote. The result of the committee’s discussion is reported to the plenary session of the Fernsehrat, which takes the final decision and informs the complainant. Although the website contains detailed information and the corporation states that it is aware of the importance of improving communication with viewers (ZDF Presse 2016), the main obstacle on the website is the difficulty of locating the complaints form and the explanation of the procedure, which must be accessed through several subsections:

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Geschäftsleitung (Management) > Nachhaltigkeit (Corporate Social Responsibility) > Strategie und Prozessmanagement (Strategy and Process Management). Since 2016, ZDF has published information about readers’ complaints in the Plenarsitzungen section. This includes a quarterly report on the number of communications received (more than 1,600 between September 2015 and November 2016) and the appealed complaints referred to the committee after obtaining a response from the general director (133 during the same period). It provides a summary of the complaint and the explanation given. It also includes the summary of the plenary session highlights cases, in which the complaints committee decided to put the matter to the Fernsehrat. In the analysed time span, there were 20 of these – and the vast majority were rejected. The ZDF model has the advantage of providing details about the main complaints and identifying the programme and aspects questioned, but it does not analyse the topics that tend to create the most problems. Since 2015, the corporation has enhanced its commitment to transparency with an error correction section (Korrekturen).

BBC The BBC clearly differentiates between comments, complaints and contributions and has a specific section for each of them. The complaints section not only defines the term (“a criticism which has been made in the expectation of a reply and which looks for an acknowledgement of fault or a change in the way the BBC does things”), but also includes exhaustive information about the channels provided, the deadlines and the stages for handling the more than 250,000 complaints it receives each year. These are set out in a specific document (BBC Complaints Framework and Procedures October 2017), which is updated to adapt it to new regulations. It differentiates between five forms of complaints and sets out the three internal resolution options: if the complainant is not satisfied with the initial response, they can appeal for it to be passed on to a member of the editorial team. If the complainant remains unconvinced, they may ask for it to be passed on to the Executive Complaints Unit (ECU). This unit determines whether or not the BBC’s editorial standards (which can be accessed in this section) have been breached. There is the possibility of appealing to the regulatory and competition authority, Ofcom, which has held authority over the BBC since 2017. This detailed explanation provides complainants with guarantees at each step of the process. There are many options for promoting transparency regarding complaints handling. First of all, the Complaints section includes a Corrections and Clarifications section, setting out the daily correction of minor errors and a summary of resolved complaints. Second, it issues a fortnightly report on the number of complaints about programmes and identifies those broadcasts for which there were more than 100 complaints. Third, it also publishes a six-monthly report on the ECU’s activity with quantitative data about complaints and the topics to which they refer, as well as a summary of upheld or partly upheld complaints and the


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recommendations made to professionals to avoid future problems. According to this report, the unit resolves an average of 250 complaints every six months, most of which are categorised as factual inaccuracy, other bias or offence to public taste. The BBC provides the complete list of complaints analysed by the unit since 2008, also setting out those referred to Ofcom and the reports issued by the prior appeal body, the BBC Trust. In addition, the Complaints section links to the corporation’s four radio and television programmes that discuss and resolve problems associated with the coverage of the corporation’s various channels.

FTV The French public television broadcaster, FTV, created an audience mediation process in 1998. It is provided through two médiateurs dealing with news (one for FR2 and one for FR3, until the person responsible retired in 2017) and with other programmes. Although they are not authorised to take disciplinary action, they do have the power to “examine complaints, process them, inform the parties or decide to make them public,” as stated in the Charte des Antennes. However, although they belong to the same corporation, their authority differed: FR2’s médiateur presents the monthly programme Votre télé et vous and runs a blog that receives audience concerns and criticisms. FTV’s mediators have actively incorporated Facebook into their activity and the médiateur de programmes receives as many as 8,000 messages per year (Denaes 2017). Although both médiateurs issue an annual report following a similar methodology, based on a selection of messages sent by the audience, there were some major differences in how they go about it. FR2’s médiateur only includes complaints, grouped in terms of selection (topics, pictures) and handling (errors, stereotypes, investigation, expression). The other programme’s médiateur sets them out monthly with positive and negative opinions, protests, questions, congratulations and amusing comments on the same level. The latter option detracts considerably from the document’s character and makes it impossible to know the volume of complaints or the topics they concern. These are set out in the two reports by FR2’s médiateur accessible on the website from 2012 and 2013.

RAI The RAI does not have information on its website about complaints handling. The channel’s desire for transparency in governance is evident in the emphasis it places on the code of ethics on its corporate website, in the Contatti section. Despite this, RAI merely offers readers a contact form to obtain information about channels or programmes or “express a [positive or negative] opinion.” The website also does not explain the procedure followed in handling such reactions. The scant attention given to viewer feedback on lack of quality in programming contrasts with the weekly surveys conducted to monitor Italian public opinion about the public service it offers, based on a model of corporate reputation or

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perceived quality. These reports are accessible on the corporate webpage in the Corporate reputation e Qualitel section.

RTVE Since 2006, the public corporation RTVE has had an ombudsperson for viewers, listeners and interactive media users, who offers “users direct communication allowing them to present complaints and suggestions.” Its mission is to seek explanations in response to them and issue a public assessment. The ombudsperson also promotes media literacy, broadcasting a monthly program called RTVE responde [RTVE responds], which deals with the main questions received through a form or via video. The ombudsperson’s section of RTVE’s website includes the legal documents and code of ethics that regulate the public service (these range from the Ombudsman’s Statute to the Children’s Protection Code and the Information Statute) as well as all the reports published since 2006 (quarterly since 2009), together with other specific reports on children since 2010.The number of complaints by quarterly period ranges from 1,000 to 2,000 for both radio and television channels. The accountability that RTVE offers combines quantitative and qualitative aspects. It displays how many communications have been received and their nature (it does not include congratulations or messages ruled out, because they are anonymous or contain insults), how they are handled and the programmes and topics affected. This breakdown shows that most of the complaints concern the programmes (51%) and news (21%) areas (according to the average between 2015 and 2017). These mainly had to do with quality, partiality and accuracy. Other complaints concern broadcasting changes in the case of programmes. In addition to these details, there is qualitative analysis of the most important complaints including a summary of them, the response from the person responsible and the ombudsman’s conclusion. In parallel, RTVE’s ombudsman produces specific reports on children in the corporation’s channels.These tend to generate around 50 messages per quarter and concern both the quality of the specific television channel’s broadcasts and inappropriate images or content on other channels.

RTBF The RTBF, aimed at Belgium’s Francophone community, has a mediator responsible for responding to “questions, incomprehension or complaints by the audiences it is aimed at.” This service, which is accessed through the Contact & Questions section, follows a legal mandate (set out in the four-year Contrat de gestion) and is presented as a “place for listening and close dialogue” between the corporation and audiences. However, “it has no power to make decisions, supervise or apply pressure” to the various services or the company’s management. In fact, if the response is not considered satisfactory, the corporation invites complainants to contact external bodies such as the Conseil Supérieur de


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l’Audiovisuel. However, one notable feature is its educational vocation, which is channelled through a program, Medialog, broadcast monthly, based on the audience’s questions and complaints. The corporate website includes the last two mediation reports, which are basically statistical, but also explain the nature of complaints. First, these are recorded alongside questions, comments and negative opinions, congratulations or suggestions, as the corporation provides a single form for them all in the Avis, questions, interpellations et plaintes section. Complaints account for around 5% of viewer interactions and focus mainly on spelling mistakes (73% in 2015 and 57% in 2016). There are fewer concerning editorial and ethical issues: 41% in 2015 (mostly connected with information about a videogame) and 6% in 2016. Second, these documents do not provide details about how complaints have been made or how they have been responded to, so the scope is limited. Moreover, from a methodological point of view, the difference between generic “negative comments” (38% of the 6,681 communications received in 2016) and “complaints” is ambiguous.

RTP Since 2006, RTP has had a provedor who handles viewers’ complaints; there is another one specifically for radio listeners. They both work independently in accordance with the Estatuto do Provedor, which defines their objective as responding to complaints received. They are authorised to launch an investigation and request information from the people responsible for the broadcast the complaint concerns.They also play an informative role, broadcasting two weekly programmes (15 minutes long), giving explanations and commenting on complaints and suggestions from viewers made through a form in which they themselves classify whether their message is a criticism, complaint, question, suggestion or congratulation. RTP’s explanation is that “a complaint has a more forceful symbolic value than a criticism,” which does not make the difference between the two very clear. The provedores produce an annual report (available on the website) with statistical data about the communications received and their nature. The public radio mediation office received 761 messages in 2015. They were mostly criticisms (47%) and complaints (34%). The television mediation office received around 15,000 (twice as many as the previous year) with a similar distribution: 49% criticisms and 33% complaints. Only the television viewers’ provedor included quotes from some of the messages received in the last two reports published (2014 and 2015). This makes it easier to know the nature of the complaints, but not the responses made to them or the explanations given by those responsible for the programme.

SRG SSR SRG SSR (the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation) is made up of four companies that reflect the country’s linguistic diversity. Since 1992, they have each had a mediator appointed by the Public Council (Blum and Staub 2017). In this

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study, we have considered the public services aimed at the largest communities: German-speaking (Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen, SRF), French-speaking (Radio Télévision Suisse, RTS) and Italian-speaking (Radiotelevisione Svizzera, RSI). These services are all subject to the same legislation (the Federal Act on Radio and Television) but operate autonomously and have considerable differences in terms of accountability. They all give 20 days from the date of broadcast to make complaints, which are limited to non-advertising content, and they all have a conciliation procedure: citizens can appeal afterwards to external bodies such as the Unabhängige Beschwerdeinstanz für Radio und Fernsehen (UBI, Independent Appeal Authority for Radio and Television) or the Federal Court. However, they differ in how they set out the results of their activity and use social networks to promote it. For instance, only the mediator for the German-speaking broadcaster uses Twitter (#ombudsfall). The Ombudstelle for SRF provides the most complete information of the three analysed. The last activity report can be viewed on the website, which states how many complaints have been received each year since 1992 (334 in 2016) and highlights those regarded as legitimate for consideration (20% of the total) as well as their common characteristics: inappropriateness (73%), politics (47%) and television broadcasts (73%). The final reports (Schlussberichte der Ombudsstelle) have also been provided since 2015 – and state the complaint made, the response from those responsible for the programme and its resolution. This combination of qualitative and quantitative aspects is coherent in terms of transparency. The médiatrice for RTS has included her activity in the Rapport Annuel since 2008, stating the quantitative results (24 complaints in 2016), the programmes that gave rise to complaints and a short description to guarantee, it says, the confidentiality of the discussions and decisions taken (RTSR 2017, p. 35). Meanwhile, RSI’s mediatore does not state the results of his work – and instead merely includes examples of resolved complaints on the website, some of which are from 2009.

ORF Complaints by ORF’s viewers are handled by the Publikumsrat (Audience Council), a collegial body made up of 30 representatives and divided into seven committees. This is given responsibility by law (ORF-Gesetz) to conciliate the interests of the public with its statute. The Publikumsrat has a committee specifically in order to handle complaints (Beschwerdeausschuss), which assesses viewers’ complaints and informs them of the results of the committee’s discussions. However, apart from the customer service options, ORF’s corporate website does not have a specific form to receive complaints and does not provide specific information about the nature of complaints received, how they are handled or the final decision. This body acts as a filter for complaints, referring them to the media authority Kommunikationsbehörde Austria (Austrian Federal Communications Board) when they are supported by at least three members of the Publikumsrat.


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RTÉ Pursuant to the Broadcasting Act 2009, RTÉ has set up a two-tier internal complaints handling system to provide channels for resolving complaints before they are referred to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). First, the broadcaster undertakes to give a reasoned response from a person responsible for the production team within 20 days to complaints about the content of programmes or advertising that breaches the BAI’s principles and codes. If this option is not satisfactory, the complainant can request an internal review from RTÉ’s Head of Broadcast Compliance, who delegates a senior editorial manager to do so. If this response is still not convincing, the complainant can contact the BAI, once the steps have been completed. RTÉ does not publish a specific report about complaints received, but does include the results in the RTÉ Annual Report & Group Financial Statements. This only shows quantitative data (and how they develop over time, if one looks at the series of reports on the website), but does not provide data about the source of complaints or the broadcaster’s response. The latest report states that in 2016 the BAI received 81 complaints about RTÉ (only three were upheld), which is almost 20 complaints fewer than the previous year, when three of them were upheld completely and two partially.

Conclusion The websites of PSM are a fundamental means of providing content, but are also a tool to create a more effective link with audiences and contribute to accountability. This study, which focuses on the channels provided by public corporations to receive and handle complaints, shows that there is a long way to go in developing all the possibilities provided by the digital environment. The diversity of options implemented creates an unequal level of transparency and resources provided, revealing considerable fragmentation in accountability mechanisms, despite the importance given to this aspect by the EBU, which groups together all the PSM analysed. A comparative study of the complaints handling options on the websites of the main Western European PSM reveals three areas of divergence. First, the variety of alternatives provided, which is an aspect that depends on the regulations and statutes governing their operation. The models range from individual mediation or conciliation, which may focus on a particular appointee to a greater (FTV, RTP, SRG SSR, RTVE) or lesser extent (RTBF), multilevel complaints resolution formulas (BBC, RTÉ), collegial committees (ORF, ZDF), or none of the foregoing, such as RAI, which provides no information about this aspect. Although they are not completely parallel, models in which a mediator is responsible tend to promote media literacy and (with the exception of the BBC) offer programmes in which complaints are handled or deal with controversy concerning particular news coverage. Second, the corporations’ degree of transparency in providing information about complaints received or the responses given to the audience differ. Some, such

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as the BBC or RTVE, publish more information through quantitative and qualitative reports, covering long periods of time (as RTP also does), while others only allow access to the most recent reports (RTBF), a quantitative summary (RTS and RTÉ), a few resolved cases (RSI) or no information whatsoever (ORF). Third, even in cases in which results are shown on the website, the methodology used to select and publish them makes it impossible to carry out a comparative study of the problems raised by PSM’s audiences, as a single report may include congratulations, suggestions and questions (RTBF, RTP) – or no analysis mechanisms or contextualisation beyond a selection of questions (FTV). This research shows that the main western European PSM have a challenge ahead of them in implementing much more robust accountability mechanisms to provide their stakeholders with ways of actively taking part in supervising quality standards and the appropriateness of the content they offer. One particular possibility is using social networks as a mechanism for publishing information about resolved complaints, as in the case of SRF’s Ombudstelle and FTV’s mediators. In facing up to this challenge, the visibility of sections and transparency play a key role both in making their existence known and in accountability. This also implies the need for effort in providing the audience with legal documents, editorial guidelines and the codes of ethics that journalists follow while carrying out their work.

Acknowledgement This work is part of the research project CSO2013-43960-R, funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of the Spanish Government.

Notes 1 See the references section for more details. 2 When necessary to get an overall picture, the analysis has been completed with the review of other website sections and indirect information from regulatory documents. 3 All direct quotations that are not attributed to any particular source are taken from the analysed PSM websites. All non-English quotations were translated by the author.

References Arriaza, K., Nowak, E., and Kuhn, R., eds., 2015. Public Service Media in Europe: A Comparative Approach. London and New York: Routledge. Bardoel, J., 2007. Converging media governance arrangements in Europe. In: G. Terzis, ed. European Media Governance: National and Regional Dimensions. Bristol: Intellect, 446–458. Bardoel, J., and d’Haenens, L., 2008. Reinventing public service broadcasting in Europe: Prospects, promises and problems. Media, Culture & Society, 30 (3), 337–355. Bardoel, J., and Lowe, G. F., 2007. From public service broadcasting to public service media: The core challenge. In: G. F. Lowe and J. Bardoel, eds. From Public Service Broadcasting to Public Service Media. Gothenburg: Nordicom, 9–26.


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Robinson, S., and Deshano, C., 2011. Citizen journalists and their third places: what makes people exchange information online (or not)? Journalism Studies, 12 (5), 642–657. RTSR, 2017. Rapport Annuel 2016. Available from: uploads/2016/02/RapportAnnuel2016_RTSR.pdf Sehl, A., Cornia, A., and Nielsen, R. K., 2016. Public Service News and Digital Media. Oxford: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Available from: http:// ce%2520News%2520and%2520Digital%2520Media.pdf Shearer, E., and Gottfried, J., 2017. News Use across Social Media Platforms. Pew Research Center. Available from: Sjøvaag, H., Stavelin, E., and Moe, H., 2016. Continuity and change in public service news online. A longitudinal analysis of the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. Journalism Studies, 17 (8), 952–970. Vinayagamoorthy, V., et al., 2012. Researching the user experience for connected TV: a case study. In: J. A. Konstan, ed. CHI′12 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems. New York: ACM, 589–604. ZDF Presse, 4 March 2016. ZDF-Fernsehrat verbessert Kommunikation mit Zuschauern bei Programmbeschwerden. Available from: https://presseportal.zdf. de/pressemitteilung/mitteilung/zdf-fernsehrat-verbessert-kommunikation-mitzuschauern-bei-programmbeschwerden/

Sections on the corporate websites BBC, British Broadcasting Corporation, 2017. Complaints. Available from: http://www. FTV, France Télévisions, 2017. Les médiateurs. Available from: http://www.francetele­ ORF, Österreichischer Rundfunk, 2017. Beschwerdeausschuss. Available from: http://­ werdeausschuss/index.html RAI, Radiotelevisione Italiana, 2017. Contatti. Available from: text/ContentItem-d2e66d38-9ec0-4665-9a92-28d5cfe832eb.html?refresh_ce RSI, Radiotelevisione Svizzera, 2017. Il ruolo del mediatore RSI. Available from: http:// RTBE, Radio Télévision Belge Francophone, 2017. Avis, questions, interpellations et plaintes. Available from: detail_plaintes-et-interpellations?id=9309357 RTÉ, Raidió Teilifís Éireann, 2017. Complaints. Available from: about/en/information-and-feedback/complaints/ RTP, Rádio e Televisão de Portugal, 2017. Provedores. Available from: http://media.rtp. pt/empresa/provedores/provedor-do-telespetador/ RTS, Radio Télévision Suisse, 2017. Organe de médiation. Available from: institution/organe-de-mediation/ RTVE, Radiotelevisión Española, 2017. RTVE Defensor del espectador. Available from: SRF, Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen, 2017. Die Ombudstelle. Available from: https:// ZDF, Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen, 2017. Der Fernsehrat. Available from: https://www.

16 A WHEELBARROW FULL OF FROGS How media organisations in the Netherlands are dealing with online public complaints Yael de Haan

Introduction When in 2014 a reporter from the Dutch current affairs programme Een vandaag was at the crash site of the MH171, she looked through the personal belongings of the deceased and read part of a personal diary on television. This broadcast bulletin was not unnoticed as there was much disgust voiced on social media. A few days later, Een vandaag offered an apology. Six months earlier, on 5 December 2013, the day Mandela died, the Netherlands’ largest and most popular newspaper, De Telegraaf, made reference to the deceased Mandela and the Black Pete as that day was also the Dutch Sinterklaas children celebration. During this feast an old man in beard and his Black Petes bring presents to children by going through the chimneys. This celebration has been much debated in recent years due to the racist connotation of the Black Pete. After much criticism was voiced on social media, the newspaper felt obliged to publish a prominent apology on the site and in the newspaper. This was an exception for De Telegraaf as it does not acknowledge the work of the press council – and usually it does not willingly publish corrections. Over the past 20 years, media accountability has been a recurring theme in Europe, both on the academic and political agendas (Brants and Bardoel 2008; de Haan and Bardoel 2011; Eberwein et al. 2011; Vike-Freiberga et al. 2013), with increasing attention paid to transparency and responsiveness as underlying principles (Brants and de Haan 2010; Groenhart 2013). At the EU level, the discussion on accountability and transparency was largely instigated by the News of the World scandal in the United Kingdom, together with larger economic and technological developments in the media world, resulting in the report titled “A free and pluralistic media to sustain European democracy” (Vike-Freiberga et al. 2013). In the report, the necessity for media organisations to be transparent is emphasised. Currently, the debate is not only about showing accountability but

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also about shedding more light on how the news is produced and responding to feedback from media users (Groenhart 2013). In the emerging era of post-truth and fake news, the issues of accountability, transparency and responsiveness are more relevant than ever (Newman et al. 2017; Newton et al. 2004). New online measures have created the possibility for the public to interact with journalists and provide feedback to the media (Borger 2016; Domingo et al. 2008). Media organisations have increasingly been using online accountability measures to show accountability (Domingo and Heikkilä 2012; Powell and Jempson 2014), and the impact of social media criticism is increasing (Fengler et al. 2015). At the same time, large social media conglomerates such as Facebook and Google are now held to account for spreading misinformation. Ten years ago, de Haan (2012) conducted in-depth case studies on how media organisations in the Netherlands show accountability to their public. While many organisations showed an increase in the implementation of accountability instruments, mostly initiated by the management, instruments or practices were hardly incorporated in the daily routine, let alone internalised as part of journalists’ professional responsibility. More recent studies show that accountability and responsiveness have become a common practice in Dutch journalism (Groenhart 2013). Since 2015, the four vocational schools of journalism in the Netherlands have included the competences of accountability and responsiveness in their curricula. With the increasing pressure for more accountability and the advent of social media, this study examines whether the perception of Dutch news organisations has maintained, or even shifted, in the last decade and how news organisations answer public complaints in an online environment. For this study, 15 in-depth interviews were held with the editors-in-chief and ombudspersons of four national newspapers, four national broadcasters, two regional newspapers, four regional broadcasters and one public opinion magazine. The analysis focuses on media accountability at the organisational level.

Media criticism in the Netherlands Over the past two decades, the role of the media and journalism in the Netherlands has come under increased scrutiny. Politicians consider that the media concentrate too much on conflicts and they blame them for inconvenient truths (Brants and Bardoel 2008; Brants and Van Praag 2006). Members of the public also show their discontent about the way the media perform, blaming them for having a role in the increasingly polarised society and for their deconstructive manner of media coverage. The issue of the naming and shaming of the media has received much attention in political and public debates due to a few specific incidents. In 2002, a report was published on how the media covered the role of the Dutch military during the Srebrenica massacre in 1995, and there was much criticism on the position several quality media took during the rise and death of populist politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002 (de Haan 2012). More recently, in 2014, a

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quality newspaper had to make a serious apology when a prominent journalist covering the heated debate on Muslims living in the Netherlands made up most of the sources. An independent committee concluded that the culture within the newspaper was far from critical, with no room for internal or external criticism. A heated debate emerged not only within the professional journalistic sphere but also on online public forums on the role of journalism in society. While 2002 seems to have been a turning point, when several Dutch media organisations acknowledged the need to respond to criticism on their performance and more recent incidents have again activated the debate, four other related and mutually reinforcing developments have created more awareness among the media (Brants and de Haan 2010). First, the increasing commercialisation and competition among the media has led to new consumption patterns where loyalty to the media has become less evident. Second, due to new technologies, members of the public are increasingly participating in the journalistic process, not only voicing their opinions on media performance but also acting as producers. Third, in a changing political climate, trust in political parties has eroded, with a greater focus on political personalities and more focus on populist characteristics. Finally, with the increasing emphasis on the voice of the people, media feel the need to respond to their publics. These developments have led to a greater emphasis on trust in the media and social cohesion, while at the same time the importance of a market logic cannot be denied (Brants and de Haan 2010; de Haan and Bardoel 2011). Being transparent and showing accountability seemed to be the response to these developments and incidents, with a shift to media accountability at the organisational level. Media organisations have initiated various measures themselves, and the role of the Press Council has shifted. Since 2013, complaints are only judged by the Press Council after the complainant has requested contact with the media organisation, and the complainant and defendant cannot come to an agreement. With the current debate on fake news, there is a new dimension to the responsibility of the media. In March 2018, a high-level EU expert group published a report on how to stop the circulation of fake news (European Commission 2018). Not only are media organisations held accountable but also the large conglomerates, such as Facebook, Google and Twitter, not in the form of regulation but self-regulation of the different parties. The number of fact-checking news desks has increased in media organisations in the Netherlands. Also, independent fact-checking initiatives have multiplied in the past year, particularly during the 2018 municipal elections. However, while these fact-checking initiatives predominantly check information from politicians, a group of researchers2 initiated a project to review the stories of journalists. Under the name Kiesfeiten (Choosing Facts), they reviewed news articles concerning the elections and connected journalists with experts on a specific topic for more in-depth follow-up stories. Following the peer review system in the academic world, this initiative aims to see how journalists and experts can help each other to create more analysis and understanding of specific complex topics.

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The online active public The advent of new technologies has created new opportunities for the public to hold the media to account. Users can comment on social media and bloggers can set up media criticism platforms (Eberwein et al. 2011). Comparative research in 14 countries, twelve of them in Europe, shows that journalists are nowadays more often being criticised through online instruments, such as social media and blogs, than through more traditional instruments, such as ombudspersons and press councils (Fengler et al. 2015). Another study showed that journalists believe that, due to the ease of contacting journalists online, it is likely to increase the number complaints or members of the public alerting journalists to specific errors ( Joseph 2011). However, the question is if online contact is being stimulated by the media organisation itself, or if external media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, have created new opportunities for the public to seek contact with journalists. Though new technologies have opened up opportunities at the extra-media level, to what extent do the media at the professional and organisational level take the initiative to stimulate a dialogue with the public? How open are they to providing the contact details of personnel within the organisation? In some countries, such as Finland, media companies are required by law to provide information on the organisation (Heikkilä et al. 2012), but in many other European countries hardly any information is provided, nor is it common to publish codes of ethics on their websites. Several news organisations do provide information on the authors of the articles, but this is not done systematically (ibid.). Therefore, this study takes a closer look at how accessible and open media organisations are towards members of the public. To what extent has the online environment made it easier to file a complaint to a journalists or media organisation? The first research question of this study is: how accessible are media organisations to the public in the online environment?

Online accountability initiatives Online technologies also potentially provide more possibilities for media organisations to respond to complaints. Ombudspersons are able to show more visibility online, by writing blogs, publishing corrections and replying to complainants’ emails. However, in most European countries, the active online presence of media ombudspersons is rare (Heikkilä et al. 2012). Other possibilities for online accountability are responding to online comments or individual journalists responding to social media. However, studies around the turn of the century show that this has hardly been picked up yet (Heikkilä et al. 2012; Joseph 2011). Social media are mostly used to follow ideas or find topics for news stories but less so as a tool for getting feedback from the media user or responding to them (Hedman and Djerff-Pierre 2013). A recent study of 1,762 journalists in 14 countries showed that on average 21% of the

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journalists felt that social media has some kind of impact as a form of public accountability; in the Netherlands this figure is 28% (Fengler et al. 2014). To conclude, online technologies have created more possibilities for public accountability, particularly in the current media market where the loyalty of the public is not as strong as it was and where the use of online media platforms has exploded. Journalists also acknowledge that people’s readiness to hold the media to account might have increased due to online instruments. However, the question remains about whether online instruments have impacted on the attitudes of journalists (Heikkilä et al. 2012). Therefore, the second research question of this study is: how do media organisations respond to complaints from the public in an online environment?

Methods For this study two methods were used. First, an analysis of Dutch news websites was carried out to provide an answer to the first research question: how accessible are media organisations to the public in the online environment? Second, indepth interviews were held to reflect on the level of accessibility and understand how media organisations respond to complaints (second research question). For both methods, a selection of news media was chosen that represents the Dutch media news landscape (see Table 16.1). All national newspapers were contacted, with only De Telegraaf, a popular and leading newspaper in the Netherlands, not wanting to participate. Four national newspapers collaborated, of which three have an ombudsperson. Two regional newspapers were chosen from two different publishing houses out of twelve regional newspapers in the Netherlands. TABLE 16.1 Media organisations that participated in the Dutch study

News organisation

Type of organisation


Algemeen Dagblad NRC Handelsblad Trouw De Volkskrant NOS Nieuwsuur RTL Nieuws SBS Hart van Nederland Elsevier RTV Noord RTV Noord Holland Omroep West RTV Utrecht RTV Rijnmond Noord Hollands Dagblad Het Parool

National newspaper National newspaper National newspaper National newspaper National public broadcaster National public affairs programme National commercial broadcaster National commercial broadcaster Public affairs magazine Regional broadcaster Regional broadcaster Regional broadcaster Regional broadcaster Regional broadcaster Regional newspaper Regional newspaper

Deputy editor-in-chief Ombudsperson Ombudsperson Ombudsperson Ombudsperson Editor-in-chief Deputy editor-in-chief Deputy editor-in-chief Editor-in-chief Deputy editor-in-chief Deputy editor-in-chief Deputy editor-in-chief Deputy editor-in-chief Deputy editor-in-chief Editor-in-chief Editor-in-chief

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The four main TV news programmes participated, two from commercial channels and two from the public broadcasters. Since 2017, the public broadcasters have had an ombudsperson for all of their news programmes. Out of the 13 regional public broadcasters, five were selected, covering different regional areas in the Netherlands. Finally, one public affairs magazine was selected. This one was selected as the editor-in-chief has long been active in the debate on media accountability and holds strong opinions on media accountability. For the website analysis, the websites of the selected media were analysed using a coding form. The following elements were taken into account: contact details of the newsroom, contact details of editor-in-chief and specific journalists, information on journalists working in the newsroom, reference to social media, reference to the contact details of the press council, and other ways of contacting the editorial newsroom. When contact details were added, the information was analysed by clicking on links to the sub-pages or going to Facebook or other social media pages. Following this, in-depth interviews were conducted with the editor-in-chief or deputy editors-in-chief of the news organisations. From organisations that employ them, four ombudspersons were interviewed. These are all the media ombudspersons active in the Netherlands. The interviews lasted approximately one hour and were conducted by the author and an assistant. A semi-structured topic list was used, covering the following topics: the procedure for the public to file a complaint, how to deal with criticism on social media, forms of transparency, practices of accountability, such as weblogs, ombudspersons and the press council, the role of government and the debate on self-regulation in the Netherlands. The interviews were recorded and fully transcribed; after this, all of the data material was coded and analysed, using the qualitative software program MAXQDA.

Being accountable starts with being accessible A large European study shows that journalists value their social responsibility, which is seen as one of the fundamentals for press freedom (Fengler et al. 2015). The editors-in-chief and ombudspersons in this study also emphasised that quality journalism depends on social responsibility and accountability. A prerequisite for this is the question of how accessible the media are to the public. New technologies have provided more opportunities for public interaction (Heikkilä et al. 2012), but to what extent can members of the public actually hold the media to account by voicing their criticism? How accessible are the media to the public? This research shows clear differences between the regional and national media in terms of how accessible they are and the extent to which members of the public are able to contact them. Regional public broadcasters are easy to reach. The contact details of the newsroom are published prominently on the home page of the news site, and even include a WhatsApp number in large bold numbers.

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Also, through the Facebook pages of the regional media, members of the public can easily find the newsrooms’ email, postal addresses and telephone numbers. Interestingly, a few public broadcasters choose to streamline the complaints related to specific articles, by adding a correction button under each article. The reader can quickly file a complaint or provide a correction on a specific article by filling in a form under the correction button. The regional public broadcasters show how the use of new technological tools simplifies communication with the public. The editor-in-chief of one of the regional broadcasters stated: “It is very easy to contact us and this counts for most regional broadcasters. We are the region, we know the region the best and the region should be able to find us easily.” While national public broadcasters do not offer WhatsApp numbers or contact details on Facebook, their homepages do provide sufficient contact details for the public to be able to contact them. Commercial broadcasters and newspapers differ from the public broadcasters. Only a general email address for the newsroom of the commercial news organisation RTL Nieuws is available at the bottom of the homepage. However, with a chronological news feed on the homepage, scrolling down only offers you more articles and does not easily allow the reader to click on the contact details. There is an even longer search for a dissatisfied reader of a national newspaper, particularly of the largest publishing house in the Netherlands, de Persgroep. Five pages on from the homepage, after finding the marketing department and contact details to place an obituary, only the general email address of the newsroom can be found. The names or contact details of the editor-in-chief or other journalists are not shown. Also, the two newspapers of de Persgroep that have an ombudsperson do not provide much openness. On the homepage of these newspapers, no clear reference is made to the ombudsperson. The ombudsperson of the national newspaper De Volkskrant acknowledges this: “For a long time I demanded more transparency on the website for my position and many journalists agree with me. However, we are very much dependent on the publisher.” The ombudsperson of the national newspaper Trouw was not pleased either. He was appointed in 2015, after a painful affair, where a journalist plagiarised many stories and made up most of his sources. An external commission advised the newspaper to appoint an ombudsperson for more internal and external accountability. However, the ombudsperson still sees a reluctant attitude at the management level: “If you choose to install an ombudsman, then you have to be transparent and accessible. Now we are downplaying it: we have an ombudsman, but we are not going to be open about it. Fear is a problem here.” Reflecting on this level of accessibility during the interviews, several editorsin-chief admitted that this a difficult area. The deputy editor-in-chief of RTL Nieuws acknowledged that “we need to work on this in order to professionalise this process.” Editors-in-chief of de Persgroep were also confronted with their unapproachable policy during the interviews – and admitted not being fully aware of this in times where transparency is key in journalism.

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Personal response While some media are more accessible than others, the consensus is that complaints from news consumers should be answered.The deputy editor-in-chief of the national newspaper Algemeen Dagblad said: “We cannot afford to ignore the news consumer.” Many also agree that a personal approach to the complainant is beneficial and even self-evident for the trustworthiness of the organisation.The editor-inchief of a national newspaper starts his day answering emails from readers: “Readers really appreciate it when they receive a personal response from the editor-in-chief.” The editor-in-chief of the public affairs magazine emphasises that this also has a commercial reason: “It is of great importance to react to complaints, not only for ethical reasons, but also because we are a company that needs to serve its customer.” However, different factors do not make this an easy task. First, time pressure is a significant issue. There is quite some pressure on journalists, having to deal with criticism and complaints and losing time working on their stories. An editor-in-chief of a regional public broadcaster said: “Often the complaints are very similar and if it is clear the journalist did not make a mistake, we do not want him/her to be emotionally involved.” Complaints are then answered by the editor-in-chief. The national public broadcaster has a communication department that collects all the complaints and tries to answer easy, common complaints with straightforward answers. Thus, if possible, journalists are not bothered with complaints from the public. Second is the issue of applying a formal or informal policy. Many organisations believe that the complaints procedure should not be formalised as it does not fit the journalistic culture and it is also not possible in the rapid online environment. The editors-in-chief were convinced that journalists see the importance of responding to complaints and that these cannot be left unanswered. This is part of having a professional attitude. Journalists are responsible for replying to emails. At the same time, editors-in-chief admit that they do not exactly know how this is dealt with in daily practice. The ombudsperson of Trouw believes journalists do not always reply to complaints: “During the early months of my appointment, I was predominantly answering emails from readers who were disappointed not to have received responses to their emails. They were disgruntled.” Also, the ombudsperson of De Volkskrant believes that an informal policy does not guarantee a good complaints procedure: “There is no clear policy on how complaints are answered. Some journalists are very willing, while others shy away. Ironically, the journalists who are open are also the ones that have to make corrections in the section ‘Corrections.’ Only because they are more willing to admit their mistakes and have a more professional attitude.”

The online door has opened Another complicating factor is the role of social media. While in the past complaints were voiced through letters, telephone and email, now members of the

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public increasingly use social media to talk and complain about media performance. Media organisations struggle with how to deal with another “door” that has opened through which criticism comes in. When complaints come in through a communication department or a specific email address, a clear work flow can be organised according to whom, when and how these are answered. However, with the advent of social media, journalists seem to be lost on how to organise this complaints flow. “It is like a wheelbarrow full of frogs jumping out, all the reactions on social media. It almost feels like an impossible task for the organisation,” according to the ombudsperson of the national public broadcaster. The advent of social media has led to new questions on media accountability. First is the issue of using social media to monitor dissatisfaction or criticism being voiced. Social media editors are usually responsible for using social media as an extra distribution channel. Several newsrooms have asked social media editors to also monitor complaints coming in on those channels. This demands a new role of the social media desk and requires close collaboration with other desks, informing journalists on what issues are at stake. The ombudsperson of the national public broadcaster agrees that they should collaborate more closely with the social media department. Second, while more and more newsrooms see social media as a platform to monitor complaints, the question then follows whether one should respond to discontent voiced on social media, particularly since it is an open platform where others can follow the conversation. For most of the editors-in-chief, it seems selfevident that by definition these types of platforms ask for a response: “If we decide to use social media channels, this means by definition responding in public or stimulating a dialogue.” Others believe that these open online conversations can create a distraction or lead to unconstructive and time-consuming discussions. This follows up on the third dilemma of who should answer the complaints on social media. Some newsrooms have asked the social media editors to answer, but this has proved to be a difficult task as these editors are often not familiar with the content, as is the case with outsourcing this task to a communication department. Nevertheless, the media who have organised it in this way believe that at least standard complaints can be answered. An editor-in-chief explained: “Someone complained that we did not report on the elections in Germany.We then responded with a link to the story we made on the German elections. This way we can easily make corrections or provide the right information.” Several editors-in-chief have chosen to personally respond on Twitter. They are active and believe it is good to respond in their role. However, they do admit that it sometimes feels like Russian roulette: the number of tweets coming in and the speed of this channel can result in tweets not being answered or not looked into. An editor-in-chief explained that he does his best, but that he also misses important tweets or forgets to react to complaints, sometimes from influential sources: “It just goes so fast that I sometimes loose overview. It feels like a multi-headed beast.” Last is the network character of social media. Responding to complaints on social platforms can be viewed, liked and shared by everyone. This can create a

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network effect, much stronger than publishing a correction in a newspaper. An editor-in-chief explained: “We should not overestimate Twitter, but there are people active on Twitter who can have quite some influence on our brand. For example, opinion leaders and experts. I think it is important not to ignore them.” Social media has complicated the flow of complaints coming in and how to respond to them. While some newsrooms have asked social media editors to monitor and respond to complaints, in other organisations, the ombudsperson tries to collaborate with social media editors, while in other organisations the editors-in-chief prefer to take the lead. Nevertheless, underlying the question of which strategy to take, there remains the problem of a reflective culture within the newsroom. Social media has unlocked doors for members of the public but created more pressure for journalists. Still, too often journalists can hide away while the editor-in-chief tries to fix the problem by eagerly responding personally. An editor-in-chief admitted: “Journalists often feel attacked. It is easy to criticise others, but once it concerns their own work, they become more sensitive.”

Conclusions The debate on trust in news organisations has been a recurring theme over the past 20 years, but in current times of fake news, misinformation and polarised media content, it is at the centre of a heated debate (Newman et al. 2017). Media organisations feel more than ever that their weapon in this fake news era is to show accountability and transparency on their performance.While more traditional instruments, such as press councils and the ombudspersons, are still used as a form of public accountability, new online technologies have provided more opportunities for both the public to hold the media to account and for media to show more transparency and respond to the public. This study examines how news organisations in the Netherlands respond to public complaints in an online environment. Historically, the Netherlands has shown a great interest in self-regulation, with recently a greater focus on accountability initiatives at the organisational level. The press council serves a second-line function, only dealing with complaints that were unable to be solved between the media organisation and complainant. A prerequisite for this second-line function is that media users can contact media organisations when dissatisfied. This study shows that while media organisations value accountability, being accessible to the public is not self-evident. Particularly, national newspapers hardly provide any contact information for the public to get in touch with the newsroom, a specific journalist or the editor-in-chief. On the contrary, and maybe not surprisingly, the service and marketing departments are easily reached. Reflecting on this with the editorsin-chief, they acknowledged that being accessible is where accountability and transparency starts. While social media have made it possible for the media user to directly contact journalists and editors-in-chief, newspapers still seem to keep their own doors closed. This is not the case for regional media, and particularly regional public broadcasters. They see it as their primary task to keep in touch

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with the public and make use of innovative interactive technologies to facilitate this process. The regional public broadcasting umbrella association has stimulated a collective approach among the public broadcasters. This seems less the case among the newspaper publishing houses. Responding to public complaints is felt as an obvious task for news organisations today, with a greater focus on personal response. Nevertheless, the daily practice shows a more nuanced perspective as the online doors have not only been opened by the media but more so by the public themselves. Complaints come in through multiple channels (email, communication desk, ombudsperson and social media) and at diverse levels within the organisation: journalists, editors-in-chief, the ombudsperson and the communication desk. The fact that social media are seen as a multi-headed beast, a Russian roulette or millions of frogs leaping out of a wheelbarrow, is indicative of the problems that news organisations are facing: the urgent need to respond to the public as fast as possible, and at the same time the realisation that news organisations have little control over social media. This study shows that currently social media are not so much felt as an opportunity for public accountability but remain at the level of panic discourse. Editors-in-chief frantically respond and try to correct discussions on Twitter, social media editors wonder whether to answer or only to monitor activity, and the ombudspersons do not know whether to jump into this social media wheelbarrow. While social media can possibly enlarge and exaggerate the contributions of individuals, news organisations can also see the immense network power it can create (Lee et al. 2014). The advent of social media as a new form of public accountability demands a new look at organisational complaints policies. In line with the informal policy culture newsrooms prefer, a closer collaboration between editors-in-chief, ombudspersons and social media editors might establish a more constructive approach to social media complaints, taking advantage of the network powers of social media to establish and maintain trust and loyalty among media users. Those few frogs still leaping out of the wheelbarrow might then be taken for granted.

Notes 1 MH17 was the flight number of the Air Malaysia aircraft shot down over Ukraine on 17 July 2014. All 298 passengers deceased, of which 196 were Dutch citizens. 2 Researchers from the Design Academy, the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht and the local journalistic platform DUIC.

References Borger, M., 2016. Participatory Journalism. Rethinking Journalism in the Digital Age? PhD thesis. Free University Amsterdam. Brants, K., and Bardoel, J., 2008. Death duties: Kelly, Fortuyn, and their challenge to media governance. European Journal of Communication, 23 (4), 471–489.

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Brants, K., and de Haan, Y., 2010. Taking the public seriously: Three models of responsiveness in media and journalism. Media, Culture & Society, 32 (3), 411–428. Brants, K., and Van Praag, P., 2006. Signs of media logic: Half a century of political communication in the Netherlands. Javnost – The Public, 13 (1), 25–40. de Haan, Y., 2012. Between Professional Autonomy and Public Responsibility. Accountability and Responsiveness in Dutch Media and Journalism. PhD thesis. Universiteit van Amsterdam. de Haan, Y., and Bardoel, J., 2011. From trust to accountability. Negotiating media performance in the Netherlands, 1987–2007. European Journal of Communication, 26 (3), 230–246. Domingo, D., et al., 2008. Participatory journalism practices in the media and beyond. An international comparative study of initiatives in online newspapers. Journalism Practice, 2 (3), 326–342. Domingo, D., and Heikkilä, H., 2012. Media accountability practices in online news media. In: E. Siapera and A. Veglis, eds. Handbook of Global Online Journalism. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 272–289. Eberwein, T., et al., eds., 2011. Mapping Media Accountability – In Europe and Beyond. Cologne: Halem. European Commission, 2018. A Multi-Dimensional Approach to Disinformation. Report of the Independent High Level Group on Fake News and Online Disinformation. Available from: Fengler, S., et al., eds., 2014. Journalists and Media Accountability: An International Study of News People in the Digital Age. New York: Peter Lang. Fengler, S., et al., 2015. How effective is media self-regulation? Results from a comparative survey of European journalists. European Journal of Communication, 30 (3), 249–266. Groenhart, H., 2013. Van boete naar beloning. Publieksverantwoording als prille journalistieke prioriteit [From Punishment to Reward. Public Media Accountability as an Emerging Journalistic Priority]. PhD thesis. Radboud University Nijmegen. Hedman, U., and Djerf-Pierre, M., 2013. The social journalist. Embracing the social media life or creating a new digital divide? Digital Journalism, 1 (3), 368–385. Heikkilä, H., et al., 2012. Innovations in media accountability and transparency. In: S. Fengler et al., eds. Journalists and Media Accountability: An International Study of News People in the Digital Age. New York: Peter Lang, 51–64. Joseph, N. L., 2011. Correcting the record. The impact of the digital news age on the performance of press accountability. Journalism Practice, 5 (6), 704–718. Lee, J. K., et al., 2014. Social media, network heterogeneity, and opinion polarization. Journal of Communication, 64 (4), 702–722. Newman, N., et al., 2017. Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2017. Oxford: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Available from: https://reutersinstitute.politics. Newton, L. H., Hodges, L., and Keith, S., 2004. Accountability in the professions: Accountability in journalism. Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 19 (3–4), 166–190. Powell, W., and Jempson, M., 2014. More accountability in the digital age? The influences of new technologies. In: S. Fengler et al., eds. Journalists and Media Accountability: An International Study of News People in the Digital Age. New York: Peter Lang, 115–128. Vike‐Freiberga, V., et al., 2013. A Free and Pluralistic Media to Sustain European Democracy. The Report of the High Level Group on Media Freedom and Pluralism. Available from:

17 THE BATTLE OVER THE LIVING ROOM Constructing an accountable popular culture Efrat Daskal

Introduction In the UK broadcasting system, the watershed hour is the point in time after which programmes containing material unsuitable for children may be broadcast. While the linguistic term might be accepted only in the UK, the practice is common throughout the world, and there appears to be global consensus that after a certain hour, certain content, usually entertainment, is allowed, based on the premise that children should not be exposed to it. Even today, when children can watch practically whatever they want whenever they want online, this social norm is enforced as a worldwide regulatory practice, illustrating how social actors can reach universal agreement regarding specific boundaries for entertainment content. It is a rare example, however, since there is usually constant dialogue between various social actors concerning the boundaries of entertainment content – a dialogue that is the focus of this chapter. This work examines one such dialogue between two social actors, the viewing public and a regulatory agency that supervises the activity of media organisations vis-à-vis the boundaries of entertainment content. Its findings are based on an analysis of boundary construction processes as it unfolded over a five-year period (2005–2010) between Israeli viewers who filed complaints against perceived offensive entertainment content and the regulatory agency that supervises the commercial channels in Israel (Second Authority for Television and Radio – SATR) and processes complaints. The findings of this study primarily aim to add to the growing literature dealing with the ethics of entertainment (Cooke-Jackson and Hansen 2008; Ji and Raney 2015), by shedding light on the different perspectives of viewers and regulators concerning the issue. A supplementary aim is that, although previous studies have examined the relationship between the public and communications


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regulators (Livingstone and Lunt 2007; Freedman 2008), this is the first to focus on how this interaction constructs social boundaries for entertainment content and possible implications of this process for the regulator’s social legitimacy. The study also contributes to the understanding of how ordinary viewers can influence the conduct of media organisations by identifying socio-cultural circumstances that may lead to a change in the construction of boundaries to entertainment content (Fahey 1991; Lockyer and Attwood 2009). The remainder of this chapter proceeds as follows: first, I present the social actors taking part in the debate surrounding offensive entertainment content. Next, I address the notion of media accountability in the context of entertainment content, by defining the idea of accountable popular culture, and I elaborate on the various ways in which it is constructed. Following the methodology and findings of my empirical study, I conclude by discussing a future model for evaluating processes of constructing an accountable popular culture in a society.

Debating entertainment content: different actors, diverse perspectives It seems that the 20th century can be referred to as the age of entertainment, because “never before in human history has so much entertainment been so readily accessible to so many for so much of their leisure time as is now primarily because of the media of communication” (Zillmann 2000, p. vi). While there are many ways for people to be entertained, watching entertainment television shows (either via their television set or another technology) remains one of the most popular and enjoyable leisure activities (Braun 2010). The popularity of televised entertainment has also placed it at the heart of an ongoing critical debate concerning the boundaries of what is considered appropriate entertainment content, according to the norms and taboos in a particular society. According to Gray (2008), there are four possible textual dimensions, which can elicit such critical discussions vis-à-vis media content. The moral dimension propels audiences to criticise television shows for either presenting values that are perceived as immoral or encouraging behaviour regarded as inappropriate. The political dimension relates to criticism against the delivery of certain ideological or political messages viewers perceive to be biased or otherwise unacceptable. The aesthetic dimension relates to television producers’ artistic choices, such as unreasonable plot twists, implausible characters or sudden out-of-character behaviour of series characters. Finally, the rational-realistic dimension relates to the misleading presentation of factual information in cultural texts. Entertainment content, for any of the previously mentioned reasons, often contradicts the values and perspectives of social actors such as politicians and public figures, television producers and regulators, media critics and journalists and various audiences. Whenever they do so, they engage in debate aimed not only to criticise the broadcasting organisations, but also to define what should be the boundaries of entertainment content and, to a larger extent, this aspect

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of the cultural sphere in a given society (Wallis 1976; Fahey 1991; Lockyer and Attwood 2009). For example, politicians and public figures can take advantage of their extensive media coverage and issue public statements about these matters. Perhaps the best-known example is the case of former American Vice President Dan Quayle, who criticised the creators of Murphy Brown (CBS) for their portrayal of family values prior to the 1992 presidential election (Benoit and Anderson 1996). Quayle accused Murphy Brown of mocking the importance of fathers by depicting single parenting as merely “another lifestyle choice.” The controversy became a part of the campaign and some suggest it even contributed to the Republican Party’s loss (Fiske 1996). Media critics and journalists voice their criticism in dedicated channels, including regular columns (Shrum 1991; Rixon 2013). For example, New York Times critic Alessandra Stanley (2007) condemned Californication for being misogynist. Similarly, the television critic of The Hollywood Reporter, Tim Goodman, chastised the TLC network for airing exploitive reality shows such as Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (Goodman 2012). Most recently, Washington Post columnist Travis Andrews (2017) criticised the anti-feminine TV drama trend of killing maternal characters off screen. Finally, ordinary viewers can also be critical of entertainment content. Unlike politicians and columnists, however, they can express their criticism only through public channels created for that purpose by media and Internet organisations, such as radio talk shows, letters-to-the-editor, comments and posts in online platforms and complaints filed with regulators and broadcasters (Livingstone and Lunt 1994; Baldi 2005; Hargrave and Shaw 2009). Typical recent examples of such debates triggered by ordinary people are the latest controversies surrounding the rape scenes in Game of Thrones (Blumson 2015) and the positive framing of suicide in 13 Reasons Why (Henick 2017). These critiques have something in common – they all constitute a call for an accountable popular culture.

From news to entertainment: from media accountability to an accountable popular culture Media accountability refers to the process by which grievances are aired against media organisations for perceived transgressions, the response of media organisations to the allegations and “any ensuing procedure for reconciling the two” (McQuail 2003, p. 15). Media accountability processes can be explored in relation to news as well as entertainment content, but most studies focus on journalistic misconduct (Bertrand 2000; Maier 2007), with only a few exploring entertainment content (Pack 2000). This lacuna may be understood through the preceding examples concerning the debates surrounding entertainment content. It is hard to define ethical misconduct by creators of such content. Unlike journalists, who operate within a professional framework and follow clearly defined ethical norms (McQuail 2003; Christians et al. 2009), the creators of entertainment content operate in less grounded territory. There are not only no explicit

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rules regarding what is allowed and what is forbidden, but the unwritten ones change over time and across societies. Hence, there is no equivalent in entertainment content to journalistic transgression, making the study of media accountability processes in this context problematic. Thus, I propose looking at media accountability vis-à-vis entertainment content from a broad cultural perspective as a dialogue between various societal groups and media organisations over the moral, political, aesthetical and informational boundaries of such content. Demand for media accountability in these cases could, therefore, be seen as a demand for an accountable popular culture, one whose creators are committed to the normative boundaries of the society in which they operate. When these agents overstep these perceived boundaries, and are criticised for it, they have two options: ignore the criticism and thereby shift the boundaries of appropriate content or acknowledge their transgression. In the latter case, their response can be manifested on two different levels: the rhetorical and the practical. Rhetorically, they can offer an explanation or justification for their actions; practically, they can initiate mitigating action to rectify the offence. Either way, their responses construct the boundaries of perceived appropriate entertainment content.

Two tracks for constructing an accountable popular culture: liability vs. answerability There are two tracks for constructing media accountability or an accountable popular culture: the liability track and the answerability track (McQuail 2003; Lauk and Kus 2012). The liability track applies to cases where media organisations can cause actual harm (e.g. financial loss or defamation) to individuals, social groups or society as a whole – and may be held liable for it. To pursue this track, the offended party must address a court of law or the regulatory authorities and prove the damage. If the judicial or regulatory institution rules in their favour, broadcasters may be punished. The main advantage of this track lies in its ability to force broadcasting organisations to rectify their mistakes, or at least pay for them; it is thus considered effective in delivering results to the offended party. Media scholars and practitioners often argue against this track, however, fearing it might have an inhibiting effect on the creative freedom and freedom of speech of broadcasting organisations (Dennis et al. 1989; Freedman 2008). The answerability track is a voluntary ethical track that applies in cases where no formal rules have been transgressed, but ethical expectations and cultural or social norms have been breached (McQuail 2003). It can be initiated when any social actor points out, in a non-obligatory arena, the transgression committed by a media organisation. The media organisation may respond voluntarily to this criticism by either issuing a suitable explanation or apology or, where feasible, by rectifying the mistake. In contrast to the liability track, the answerability track operates “in an area where an exchange of information and ideas takes the

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place of threats on freedom to publish” (McQuail 2003, p. 202). Thus, its goal is to facilitate dialogue between media organisations and the offended parties, focusing on the professional norms of media organisations and the quality of the media product, rather than on the possible harm they cause. Media scholars and practitioners regard this track more positively than the liability track by virtue of its outcome – voluntary acceptance by media actors of professional norms relating to the responsibilities of the media that holds the potential of improving media credibility. This kind of dialogue is hard to achieve in practice, however, since media organisations are not always keen on voluntarily yielding to criticism. Thus, despite its advantages and as opposed to the liability track, it is considered a weak track for constructing media accountability (Christians 1989; de Haan and Bardoel 2011). An analysis of decisions made in both tracks concerning perceived offensive entertainment content in a society can shed light on the boundaries of its accountable popular culture. This chapter demonstrates this kind of analysis by focusing on the case of Israel’s SATR. Within the SATR, all complaints received are first forwarded to the ombudsperson, who is legally required to respond to all. The ombudsperson decides, on a case-by-case basis, whether the grievance does indeed constitute a regulatory violation. If so, the complaint is referred to the television department, which can warn or fine the broadcaster, thus following the liability track. If the complaint does not address a regulatory breach, it is handled by the ombudsperson. In these cases, if the ethical violation is established and the complaint is deemed justified, the ombudsperson will submit recommendations to the television department, the SATR Director General and Chair and the broadcasting organisation. As far as the latter is concerned, the ombudsperson’s judgment in these matters is not binding, but serves as an ethical guideline – the broadcaster is free to decide whether to follow it, thereby constituting the answerability track. The availability of the two tracks provides an opportunity to explore how public complaints concerning entertainment content trigger media accountability processes. In other words, how do public complaints lead to constructing an accountable popular culture?

Methods To answer this research question, I used several research methods. The main method was a qualitative content analysis of viewers’ complaints to the SATR against entertainment shows perceived offensive. Out of a corpus of 3,317 complaints concerning 1,634 shows filed from 2005-2010, I used proportionate stratified sampling based on years and genres to select 817 (26%) complaints that addressed 50% of the broadcasts.1 These were coded according to two questions: Why did the cultural text trigger resentment? How did the regulator respond? 2 The second method was a participatory observation, conducted from 20092013 at the SATR.3 During those years, I served as the assistant to the ombudsperson and was engaged in the following activities: processing complainants’ letters,


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which included examining, ruling and formulating responses to the complainants, broadcasters and regulator; analysing complaints data and writing the monthly and yearly reports; and participating in problem-solving meetings with the broadcasters in cases of conflicts of interest or scandals and conducting informal conversations with various public and media participants in the accountability process. Finally, I analysed the journalistic discourse that accompanied complaints discussed in the public sphere. In the following section, I will present the results by addressing the viewers’ complaints, followed by the SATR’s responses.

Why did the cultural text trigger resentment? As discussed above, a cultural text can trigger resentment on four textual dimensions: moral, political, aesthetic and rational-realistic (Gray 2008). The reasons that complainants provided for their dissatisfaction with a certain cultural text can be classified accordingly. The most dominant type of complaint involved the moral dimension (n=721; 88%). Concerns were raised over (a) exposing children to unsuitable material; (b) exploitation of participants in reality shows; (c) encouraging offensive behaviour; and (d) offending vulnerable individuals and societal sectors. A typical example was a complaint regarding the Israeli versions of the reality shows Big Brother and Paradise Hotel: My kids are eight and eleven years old and have a habit of watching these shows. After watching these shows as well, I realised that most of the dialogues are unsuitable for my children’s age (…) I ask to limit the viewers’ age for these shows and to make sure they won’t be broadcast in prime time. (9 October 2008) The second most frequent dimension was the political (n=287; 35%). Complaints under this category blamed shows for promoting stereotypical perceptions of socio-political groups or biased political views. This is how one viewer criticised a sketch on the political satire show A Wonderful Country [Eretz Nehederet]: As election date approaches, the show reveals its true face by identifying with one side (...) I wish to make it clear that the professional level of the show is excellent, but it is transparent that it functions as a platform for those who love the leftists, who, coincidently or not, are cast members of the show (...) I suggest postponing the airing of the show until after the election – this would be fair for everyone. (6 February 2006) A small minority of complainants were bothered by the aesthetic dimension (n=51; 6%). These concerns focused on the quality of entertainment shows and their perceived role in lowering the quality of Israeli culture. This is how one

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complainant deplored the quality of a humoristic show titled Making Fun of Work [Tzhok MeAvoda]: “The content of the show is exceptionally lowbrow (...) I would expect you to stop airing it if only to maintain a certain quality for your viewers” (26 October 2010). Finally, only 3% of complainants (n=23) addressed the rational-realistic dimension by accusing producers of failing to provide accurate factual information. One of the most salient examples concerned a representation of epilepsy in a high-paced drama titled War Room [Hadar Milhama], which depicted events in a fictional security service. One of the characters suffered from epilepsy, and in one episode, he confided to a colleague that because of his condition and his medication he was unable to have children. This is how one angry viewer responded to this plotline: In the last episode of War Room (...) grave injustice was done to people with epilepsy. I am 30 and have had epilepsy since I was twelve (...) Together with me on an online epilepsy forum are fathers and mothers with epilepsy who constitute decisive proof that there is no problem with having children. I don’t even know of any drugs that affect the quality of sperm and I know quite a lot of drugs. It’s a shame that a good thing – finally in an original Israeli series [we have] an educated and influential character with epilepsy – is spoiled due to poor preliminary research or lack of attention. (21 February 2005)

Media organisations’ response: three tracks for creating an accountable popular culture The analysis of regulatory and broadcasting organisations’ responses to public complaints revealed a three-track model for constructing boundaries for entertainment content within the SATR, each relying on a different set of premises.

The liability track As aforementioned, the liability track was pursued by the SATR television department in 16 out of 817 cases. Fifteen of these interventions concerned texts that had triggered complainants’ moral resentment, usually against content deemed unsuitable for children and for creating a clean and safe media environment. In seven cases, the department issued warnings to the broadcasting organisations, and in seven others, it imposed fines. In addition, three cases saw severe regulatory intervention (one of them also being fined), which meant that the regulator pressured the broadcaster to change either the content or schedule of the show. In these cases, the intervention occurred only following multiple complaints and a strong public discourse, an issue elaborated further in the following. The following is an example of how the department responded to a complaint against profanities on a late-night show titled Fun Night [Layla Bekef]:


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The intro of the show, which was in Russian, included coarse language that could only be understood by a Russian-speaking audience (...) There is no place for using coarse language in programs (...) even if the broadcast is classified for viewers aged 15 and above. The SATR approached the broadcaster, demanding that the show comply with ethical rules derived from the law. The SATR monitors the show and will act to ensure that its language and content comply with the ethical rules derived from the law (...) it might even be decided to initiate a procedure of an alleged violation. (28 June 2009) In its response, the television department highlighted its role as an active and strict regulatory entity by using verbs such as “demand,” “act” and “monitor” and by reiterating that although these are ethical rules, they are derived from the law and are thus binding. The phrase “alleged violation” means that the department is considering levelling a fine against the broadcasting organisation. This case also provides a typical example of the conduct of the television department. Despite having the power to pursue the liability track, the regulator hesitated to use it in its strictest form, as can be gleaned from the phrase “it might be even decided” and “alleged violation.” Therefore, while the boundaries constructed by the department are broad because broadcasting organisations are punished for their transgressions, they are infrequent and limited in scope to creating a clean and safe media environment for children.

The answerability track In this study, the answerability track evolved into two sub-tracks, the “institutionalised” within the institution of the ombudsperson and the “public” within the mediated public sphere: The institutionalised answerability track: unlike the television department, the ombudsperson ruled in favour of the complainants in 20% (n=163) of the 817 cases. Again, most complaints (82%; n=133) concerned moral outrage, while the rest pertained to the political (11%; n=18), rational-realistic (6%; n=9) and aesthetic (2%; n=3) dimensions. The ombudsperson handled the complaints independently and decided whether they were justified on the basis of self-determined ethical principles, delineating appropriate entertainment content, which the sample of responses below articulates. (1) Creating a safe and clean media environment: like the television department, the ombudsperson advocated for maintaining a suitable media environment, especially for children. Yet, while the department usually ruled in cases where sexual and violent images were broadcast, the ombudsperson expanded the boundaries of what it meant to create a safe and clean media environment for children.

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One example was the ombudsperson’s response to a complaint about the Israeli version of Project Runaway. In one episode, a designer took a model’s measurements inaccurately and designed a dress in the wrong size. In his distress, the designer told the model she should vomit all night long so that she could fit into the dress. In response, one viewer complained that such a comment might encourage anorexia among the young girls who were the target audience of the show. While the broadcaster dismissed the remark as humoristic, the ombudsperson criticised it because of the comment’s possible influence on young girls, stating: Anorexia is a horrible and intractable disease (...) What was said cannot be unsaid, but I do ask the broadcaster to make sure the participants on the show avoid making such remarks so that they wouldn’t influence young girls who consider the [characters on the] show as role models. (2 July 2009) (2) Maintaining human dignity: the ombudsperson acted as the protector of the weakened sectors in society, including people with disabilities and even participants in talk shows or reality shows who are not used to being in the spotlight. In 2006, for example, the ombudsperson received a barrage of complaints against the rude behaviour of some judges in the Israeli version of So You Think You Can Dance. In response, the ombudsperson confirmed that: There is no justification for humiliating people in public (...) the judges offended aspiring contenders and shattered their world with mere words and violent language, which is violence for all intents and purposes (...) a clear violation of all ethical rules. (4 December 2006) In this response, not only did the ombudsperson define violence very broadly, but also highlighted the importance of protecting participants in reality shows. (3) Upholding generic conventions: while the ombudsperson is not a cultural critic, many of his responses to public complaints were grounded in the generic conventions of entertainment content. This, for example, was his response to a complaint about a scene in a drama series titled Everything is Great [Hakol Dvash], in which a man used the services of a prostitute while gazing at a picture of a famous Jewish rabbi. The complainant described it as “a semipornographic scene that degrades religious symbols” (18 October 2010). In response, the ombudsperson emphasised that this was a drama series and that “the image of the rabbi was the topic of a conversation between the client and the woman about the relation between body, soul and livelihood” (25 October 2010).Thus, by implying that the image was essential to the dramatic narrative, the ombudsperson approved the scene, despite its potential offensiveness.


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In another complaint concerning a sketch on the satire show The Back Bench [Hasafsal Ha’ahori], which mocked Gilad Shalit,4 the complainant argued that “the show had no business mocking such a sensitive issue” (28 November 2009). The ombudsperson justified the complainant by arguing: “I do not accept the broadcaster’s reply that this was satire (...) One must understand that satire is not about making jokes. It requires a certain amount of sophistication, criticism and surprising innovation” (10 January 2010). Thus, the ombudsperson professed to explain to the show’s writers and producers what satire was, and why, despite the broadcaster’s claims, the sketch could not be considered satirical. In all these cases, the ombudsperson aimed to conduct a dialogue with the broadcasting organisations over the boundaries of entertainment content. His recommendations, however, were never implemented by the broadcasters and never lead to any apparent change in the latter’s conduct. The ombudsperson takes into consideration ethical and cultural aspects, thus the boundaries he constructed for the broadcasters were stricter than those of the television department, but since his recommendations are non-binding, they were also fragile. The public answerability track: in 21 cases, the discussion of the complaints extended beyond the regulatory and into the mediated public sphere. The transition was enabled by journalists who reported on the complaints, giving other social actors (including the SATR) the option of publicly expressing their opinions and criticism against the broadcasting organisations. Most cases (n=15) concerned the moral dimension, followed by five that concerned offending socio-political groups in Israel, and only one that concerned an offence in the rational-realistic dimension. In six of these cases, the public discourse that evolved contributed to forcing the broadcasters to comply with the complainant’s demands.5 These six cases were unique, not only due to the public criticism they aroused, but also due to two other aspects. The first concerned the social identity of the offended party. In all cases, the complainants pointed to at least one particularly vulnerable social sector liable to be offended by the broadcast and in need of protection. In four of the six cases, the complainants argued that children were the offended party; in the other two, it was people with Tourette syndrome and the Christian community in Israel. The second aspect was the number and nature of public complaints. For each of these cases, over 20 complaints were received without prior coordination from different sectors of society.6 In three of the six cases, the broadcasting organisations gave in to public pressure; in the other three, the SATR television department applied direct pressure on them to comply. Since such journalistic intervention seldom occurs, the boundaries constructed in these cases are strong, but also infrequent and inconsistent. Both the “institutionalised” and the “public” dimensions reflect the characteristics of the answerability track. In both, criticism was levelled by at least two different social actors, either the public and the ombudsperson or the public and media critics. Formal rules were not violated in either case, but ethical expectations and cultural or social norms concerning entertainment content were disregarded. Neither track carried with it the regulatory or legal power to influence

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the broadcasting organisations, yet both called on them to voluntarily assume responsibility by taking measures to rectify perceived wrongdoings. However, the disparity in outcomes differentiated between the two tracks. The ombudsperson’s recommendations were ineffective, while public criticism proved more successful in forcing broadcasters to comply.

Concluding remarks: vox populi, vox dei The three tracks described for constructing an accountable popular culture coexist in every society. The unique characteristics of each jointly define accountable popular culture in a society – the power viewers have in influencing the conduct of media organisations and the creative freedom given to the latter in creating entertainment content. In the Israeli case, the liability track leads to the creation of strong and infrequent boundaries; the institutionalised answerability track forms strict but weak boundaries; and the public answerability track produces strong and unpredictable boundaries. In all cases, boundaries are created and respected usually in cases, in which children are (potentially) offended. Only in a few cases were boundaries set to protect other weak sectors. Going back to the example of the watershed hour, it seems that within the Israeli media system, protection of children is the only consensus. Each track differs in its relative dominance. This may be clarified using the categorisation proposed by Williams (1977) for analysing the prevailing mode of culture production. According to Williams, at all points in time one can distinguish between three different forms of culture production: dominant, residual and emergent. The dominant form of culture production, which is usually the hegemonic, is the one most commonly used in the society. The residual form has been applied in the past and is to some extent still active in the culture production process. While it is different from the hegemonic form in the sense that it offers an alternative or even an oppositional version to the dominant culture, it still constitutes a part of it. Finally, the emergent form describes new meanings, new practices and new relationships of culture production. Applying this model to the Israeli case reveals that while the liability track is still the most dominant, the institutionalised answerability track is likely to become the residual one while the public answerability track is currently the emergent form. This state of affairs may be explained by three processes taking place concurrently within the Israeli media industry. First, there are signs of a gradual erosion in the power of regulators and the effectiveness of answerability systems such as ombudspersons and press councils (Cohen-Almagor 2007; Kitain 2017). The weakness of these systems is already manifested in the results: neither the television department nor the ombudsperson managed to create any lasting, strong boundaries. Consequently, it is probable that in the future, Israeli viewers will stop relying on the SATR as an entity able to enforce compliance and will cease using this track. Second, the fear of Israeli broadcasting organisations of being in the midst of a public scandal (Daskal and Kampf 2015) might encourage


Efrat Daskal

them to comply more quickly with public demands being made through the public answerability track. Again, this was evident, in that despite the small number of cases, the relative success viewers achieved in this track was higher than in the other tracks. Finally, the expansion of the mediated public sphere, mostly via social media, now enables more people to initiate a debate in the public answerability track. The high penetration rate of social media in Israel (e.g. over 70% of Israeli Internet users use Facebook) is not unique (Internet World Stats 2018). Yet, in combination with the two mentioned processes, this process creates an environment that encourages people to use the public answerability track instead of others. As this pattern is not necessarily unique to Israel, follow up studies should explore how the three-track model is manifested in other societies, the boundaries these tracks construct and possible causes for the evolution of the model in each society. This line of study could shed light on cross-cultural differences in the construction of accountable popular cultures worldwide. Last, given the centrality of the public answerability track in this study, I wish to conclude this chapter by addressing some of the merits and pitfalls of this track. Apparently, this track is more democratic and transparent. It does not involve any costs, participation in the discussion is open to all and it ensures a higher probability of success, as the findings clearly indicated. Yet there are three problems with this track. First, the offended party’s success depends on access to mainstream media and to large publics. Although this party can mobilise public support via social media, access to journalists and media critics is reserved for those with social capital (Bourdieu 1986). Second, the social media sphere lacks any ground rules for a serious discussion about complex issues such as the boundaries of entertainment content. Such anomia, as argued by Schudson (1997), does not allow for efficient conversation that can lead to effective problem solving – in this case, meaningful and significant social boundaries to entertainment content. Thus, any social boundaries constructed based on such debate will constantly be affected by the unpredictable and sudden shifts in public opinion as amplified by social media, in a manner not necessarily conducive to a democratic society. Finally, while traditional media liability and answerability systems are incorporated into media organisations, this one is external to them. Consequently, they respond to its criticism only under extreme pressure and under unique circumstances. Thus, although viewers have a better chance of success using this track, it does not offer a genuine democratic path to a meaningful, effective and lasting dialogue between the public and media organisations. From another perspective, there is a way in which media organisations can benefit from the existence of the public answerability track. This track is currently gaining momentum worldwide. Today, more than ever, media organisations, regulatory agencies and production companies need to deal with disappointed and angry audiences that pursue this track through social media. In some cases, but not all, they give in to the pressure and comply with the audiences’ requests. Future studies could compare these different cases to understand

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in which circumstances media organisations gave in to audience pressure. This line of inquiry might shed light not only on the circumstances that allow audiences to influence media organisations, but also on the shared concerns and problems of audiences and media organisations concerning the boundaries of entertainment content. Moreover, this kind of comparative research might even pave the road to the construction of new consensual limits of perceived offensive entertainment content, thereby allowing us to move one step beyond the watershed hour.

Notes 1 A single complaint sometimes involved several textual dimensions. Consequently, the overall coding results list the total number of viewers as over 817. 2 Inter-coder reliability was tested on 10% of the coding units, yielding Krippendorff ’s Alpha reliability no lower than .90. 3 This research was approved by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Ethics Committee and by the SATR. 4 Shalit was an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas and held prisoner in the Gaza Strip from 2006–2011. 5 The late-night show Tonight with Lior Schleien (2009) ceased airing sketches mocking Christianity. Similarly, the satirical show They Deserve It Too [Gam Lahem Magia, 2008] removed a character after having offended people with Tourette syndrome. Due to possible harm to children, in the drama series Everything Is Great [Ha-Kol Dvash, 2010], a controversial sex scene was censored. In Big Brother (2010), a tenant was removed from the house due to her violent behaviour and its possible influence on children. Finally, the reality shows The Models (2005) and The Polygraph (2008) were rescheduled to a later hour. 6 The criterion of 20 complaints per case was based on the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities’ (EPRA) categorisation of complaint culture. According to this measure, countries whose regulatory authorities handle over 20 cases per month are qualified as having a middle to high level of complaint culture (Machete 2010).

References Andrews, T. M., 2017. “Disposable” women? TV wives keep dying on shows centered on male actors. Washington Post, 6 October. Available from: https://www.washingtonpost. com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/10/06/disposable-women-tv-wives-keepdying-on-shows-centered-around-male-actors/?utm_term=.befa849edb14 Baldi, P., ed., 2005. Broadcasting and Citizens. Viewers’ Participation and Media Accountability in Europe. Rome: EURISPES. Benoit, W. L., and Anderson, K. K., 1996. Blending politics and entertainment: Dan Quayle versus Murphy Brown. Southern Communication Journal, 62, 73–85. Bertrand, C.-J., 2000. Media Ethics and Accountability Systems. New Brunswick: Transaction. Blumson, A., 2015. Viewer anger over Game of Thrones rape scenes means changes in Season 6. The Telegraph, 21 December. Available from: http://www.telegraph. Bourdieu, P., 1986. The forms of capital. In: J. Richardson, ed. Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education. Westport: Greenwood, 241–258.


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Lockyer, S., and Attwood, F., 2009. The sickest television show ever: Paedogeddon and the British press. Popular Communication, 7, 49–60. Machete, E., 2010. The 31st EPRA Meeting in Barcelona. Complaints and Sanctions: Comparative Background Document for the Plenary Session. Public version. Available from: sanctions_public_version_final.pdf Maier, S. R., 2007. Setting the record straight. When the press errs, do corrections follow? Journalism Practice, 1, 33–43. McQuail, D., 2003. Media Accountability and Freedom of Publication. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pack, L., 2000. Ambiguous standards, arbitrary enforcement. Cable access TV and controversial programming. In: D. Pritchard, ed. Holding the Media Accountable. Citizens, Ethics and the Law. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 124–137. Rixon, P., 2013. Re-evaluating the role of television criticism in the British press. Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, 14, 388–400. Schudson, M., 1997. Why conversation is not the soul of democracy. Critical Studies in Mass Communication, 14, 297–309. Shrum, W., 1991. Critics and publics. Cultural mediation in highbrow and popular performing arts. American Journal of Sociology, 97, 347–375. Stanley, A., 2007. Self-loathing in California. Self-critique? No way! The New York Times, 13 August. Available from: television/13stan.html?_r=0 Wallis, R., 1976. Moral indignation and the media. An analysis of the NVALA. Sociology, 10, 271–295. Williams, R., 1977. Marxism and Literature. New York: Oxford University Press. Zillmann, D., 2000. Preface. In: D. Zillmann and P. Vorderer, eds. Media Entertainment. The Psychology of Its Appeal. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum, vi–x.


Introduction Accountability systems play an important role in overseeing the quality of content within news organisations and in preserving their public service to society, as they become key indicators both of media transparency and responsiveness (Eberwein et al. 2011). Media accountability is thus based on the need of holding news companies responsible for their activity in the social sphere as part of the professional self-regulation afforded to them. Media are accountable to four different stakeholders: the state mechanism, market forces, the professional self and the public (Bardoel and d’Haenens 2004). By implementing their professional accountability, journalists attempt to maintain their news standards and to foster public trust in their work, also by responding to users’ feedback, handling their complaints and making corrections when necessary. The efficiency of traditional self-regulation principles, such as ombudspersons and ethical codes, has been questioned by media practitioners, scholars and the public alike in many countries (von Krogh 2008; Benson et al. 2017). The traditional instruments of media self-regulation (i.e. press councils, ombudspersons and ethical codes) are becoming less effective because of their limited impact and scarce use (Fengler 2012). As Domingo and Heikkilä (2012) indicate, media accountability practices can be enacted at each of the different stages of the news production process. Before news production begins, accountability deals with “actor transparency.” These practices are, therefore, focused on “production transparency” and, as Domingo and Heikkila (2012) demonstrate, accountability shifts, during the distribution process, to the practice of “responsiveness.” Digital media include many features, such as immediacy, two-way interactivity, broad access and users’ feedback, which can be useful for implementing

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public accountability (Heikkilä et al. 2012). However, they also face professional challenges, such as failures in gatekeeping and verification practices as well as poor editorial decisions. The European Commission has undertaken actions to enhance media freedom and pluralism, recommending that “journalist and media organisations should adapt their codes of conduct and journalistic standards to the challenges posed by a rapidly changing media environment” (Vike-Freiberga et al. 2013, p. 5), including the quality of their verification and transparency procedures. In this context, news organisations over Europe are developing new accountability instruments on digital media, as audiences increase their monitoring activity on journalists and the media (Bichler et al. 2012). Spain has a rich and innovative media system, with a combination of strong legacy media and many new digital-only news outlets, which are innovating in the kind of content, processes and business models they implement, as they face the consequences of the economic crisis (García-Avilés et al. 2018). Our focus in this chapter, the Spanish media system, is increasingly becoming an important research object in the context of online media accountability studies.

Audiences’ role in online accountability systems Internet technologies have increased people’s readiness to hold news organisations accountable, as it has become much easier for users to be actively involved in media monitoring through social media, blogs and discussion forums (Fengler 2012). Interactive accountability instruments can establish a closer relationship between journalists and their publics, using the opportunities afforded by the Web 2.0 (Fengler et al. 2014). Some studies about the impact of digital media on democracy have been widely optimistic about the potential of collaborative journalism for improving the quality of the political system and society (Borger et al. 2013). However, that optimism has been decreasing. Scholarly work increasingly shows that the media have offered scarce participation initiatives and have often been reluctant to let users have a say about the news content. Simultaneously, many people have been hesitant to get involved in media production and monitoring activities (Singer et al. 2011; Vujnovic et al. 2010). Educated and active audiences might play an important role in holding news organisations accountable in a highly fragmented media environment (Napoli 2011), where individuals should not only be regarded as consumers but also as citizens who might support the media’s public interest (Hasebrink et al. 2007). Thus, audiences may get involved in news production processes, as contributors as well as sources, activists, curators and distributors of content (García-Avilés 2012), because they already play a “gate-watching” role overseeing how journalists carry out their work (Bruns 2005). Although bloggers’ criticism of journalistic work is mostly ignored, it has the potential to pressure the newsrooms to be accountable (Cheruiyot 2017).

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Fengler (2012) describes how audience-inclusive models offer the potential to monitor media performance and to sanction journalistic malpractice. The audience-inclusive model may prove more effective in the long term, as the utility function of the new digital media critics can result in more effective media criticism. Thus, the digital environment might provide innovative ways of news transparency and quality monitoring, in which users’ participation plays an important role (Groenhart and Bardoel 2012). Nevertheless, some instruments that foster audience participation have been introduced by the media simply for the economic reasons of increasing traffic and attract new users (Singer et al. 2011; Becker et al. 2010). The Internet has broadened the range of accountability instruments, but the question remains whether these instruments can make media companies more accountable and address the specific questions raised by ethical standards in digital newsrooms (García-Avilés 2014). Despite their availability, online accountability tools have yet to achieve their main objective: providing a suitable space for debate between journalists and citizens, which could improve the quality of the news process (Domingo and Heikkilä 2012).

Media accountability in Spain The Spanish media system is characterised by a substantial level of concentration together with a strong public media, composed of national, regional and local public service broadcasters (Llorens et al. 2013). Market competition, telecommunications, intellectual property and most digital services regulation are under the authority of the state, attributed to governmental institutions or to independent authorities. The state and the regions share the responsibility in areas related to cultural industries, broadcasting licensing and other public service media regulations (Bergés-Saura and Reguero-Jiménez 2013). To support the principles of journalistic ethics, some professional institutions were created in the 1990s, such as the Federation of Journalists Ethics Complaints Commission, the National Press Association and the Catalonian Audiovisual Council. Some media companies also have other initiatives, such as newsroom statutes, which endorse journalists’ participation in the running of news organisations (Bergés-Saura and Reguero-Jiménez 2013). However, self-regulatory bodies and ethical codes have a limited binding capacity. The dominance of large media companies is counterbalanced by the weight of the public broadcasting sector and by the regional and local press. Indeed, the volume of regional and local markets is one of the key features of the Spanish media system, although the economic crisis and the restructuring of media industries have adversely affected the smaller markets (Llorens et al. 2013). Few studies have focused on the ethical principles embraced by Spanish journalists who have largely questioned the efficiency of the traditional accountability instruments, such as ombudspersons and codes of ethics (García-Avilés et al. 2014). For media practitioners, the major incentive of self-regulation is

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not serving the public interest but avoiding external intervention from the state and legal constraints (Rojas-Torrijos and Ramón-Vegas 2017). The empirical evidence shows that journalists’ ability to solve ethical dilemmas depends on the internal newsroom environment and on commercial or political pressures, as well as the level of media culture at large (García-Avilés et al. 2014). Although most of the mechanisms that aim to support journalistic accountability were introduced at an early stage of political and social transformation in the 1990s, the Spanish news culture does not particularly encourage debate about journalistic ethical standards and accountability. Indeed, neither the news organisations nor the journalists are prepared for such critical scrutiny. News companies are not willing to expand debates on their newsgathering and production practices, while the implementation of accountability procedures is voluntary and can be easily ignored (Alsius et al. 2011). A recent study detected a lack of regularity and systematisation in the implementation of online accountability systems in the Spanish media (Mauri-Ríos and Ramón-Vegas 2015). The authors argue that these initiatives were scarce in most Spanish media due to lack of funding and human resources and they were not implemented in a consistent way by media practitioners. Spanish journalists do not use peer criticism to the same degree as their international colleagues, although they strongly support the idea of transparency and accountability (Rodríguez-Martínez et al. 2017). Criticism from the audience is considered a solution to bad journalistic practice, as well as one of the key elements of accountability, because it helps journalists question their own activities. Therefore, audience criticism is increasingly regarded as an accountability instrument which can improve the level of transparency in news production processes in Spanish media (ibid.). In the following sections, we will examine the main online accountability tools implemented by the Spanish digital media in recent years and will pay special attention to the role of active audiences in holding the media accountable. We intend to answer two main research questions: (a) to what extent do digital tools provide a wider variety of channels to foster media accountability, and (b) how are the Spanish media using these online accountability tools in their news operations and are the tools being effective?

Method We used a method based on snowball sampling (Goodman 1961), which would allow identifying those subjects who could become part of the sample. We constructed a sample of 25 media outlets, comprising the four main categories of digital media: print matrix, radio matrix, television matrix and those which are digital-only media: ••

online editions of newspapers (nine): El País, El Mundo, La Vanguardia, El Periódico, ABC, 20 Minutos, La Razón, La Marea and ARA;

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•• •• ••

online-only outlets (six): El Confidencial,, Vilaweb, Público, La Información and El Español; websites of radio broadcasters (four): RNE-1, SER, Onda Cero and Cope; websites of television channels (six): TVE-1, RTVA, CCMC, Antena 3, La Sexta and Telecinco.

We revised previous research of media accountability instruments in Spain (MauriRíos and Ramón-Vegas 2015) as well as audience participation initiatives in the Spanish media (Suau and Masip 2014). Our research categories were based on the accountability online instruments identified in earlier studies (Fengler et al. 2014; Mauri-Ríos and Ramón-Vegas 2015).Then, we constructed a content analysis coding sheet, using qualitative ethnographic categories (Bryman 2012), which included the type of accountability tool, the level of user interaction and the purpose of the action, how the tool is used and the results of the action. Content analysis was carried out during eight non-consecutive weeks throughout a seven-month period from 1 April to 30 October 2017. During our study, we analysed the different accountability instruments implemented by the media selected in the sample. Each accountability instrument was graded according to the level of its implementation: “high” (implemented on a regular basis), “medium” (implemented on an irregular basis) and “low” (rarely implemented or discontinued).

Results Accountability instruments A variety of accountability tools have been implemented by the Spanish media in recent years. After reviewing the relevant literature, we focused on four specific online instruments of media accountability that are the most frequently used by the Spanish news organisations: newsroom blogs, ombudspersons, chats with the editor and news verification initiatives. The results of our analysis show that 45% of the media outlets did not use any online accountability instruments at all, while 43% of the outlets implemented only one accountability instrument, and 12% of the outlets implemented three or more accountability instruments. Only one of the news outlets in the sample,, uses all four accountability instruments (see Table 18.1). Radio broadcasters and commercial television channels – except the commercial TV broadcaster La Sexta – have not developed any of these accountability instruments. The digital-only news outlets are the ones that tend to incorporate most accountability tools, while three of the main newspapers do not use any at all.

Newsroom blogs Newsroom blogs are published by members of the editorial team, providing an insider’s view about the decisions taken during the news coverage and facilitating public reflection on the work carried out by the journalists. These blogs can

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TABLE 18.1 Implementation of accountability instruments used by Spanish media

with online presence News organisation El País El Mundo La Vanguardia El Periódico La Razón ABC ARA La Marea 20 Minutos El Confidencial Público El Español Vilaweb La Información RNE-1 SER Onda Cero Cope TVE-1 RTVA CCMC Antena 3 La Sexta Telecinco

Newsroom blog o

Ombudsperson Online chat with Verification tools the editor o

+ –


+ + o – + +

+ +

+ –

+ + + +

Source:  the author. Note:  + = high implementation; o = medium implementation; – = low implementation.

work as accountability instruments that enable editors and journalists to highlight their ethical sensitivity and to open their information processing practices to the public, receiving feedback about their decisions and identifying possible mistakes. Spanish media have been slow in using this accountability tool, as it requires effort on behalf of the editors and because it is a time-consuming practice with benefits that are not always recognised. Newsroom blogs enable journalists to seek autonomy, not just from outside forces but also from the internal control imposed by employers, newsroom practices and the loyalty to colleagues. At the same time, this tool allows explaining to the public the limits of the journalists’ decisions. (digital-only) launched its newsroom blog in 2010, “to explain from the inside all the news about the editorial project.” Articles include insiders’

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accounts of special news coverage, live debates on key editorial issues and news about the editors’ involvement in public events. Público (digital-only) has a blog, which is self-described as “an open window to our newsroom.” The blog invites readers “to peep in to get a picture of how we do our cooking.”The editor usually informs the readers about changes introduced in the editorial process and shares her decisions with the readers. She is usually available for questions from the readers, which are published in the blog. 20 Minutos (free newspaper) has a newsroom blog, which explains the criteria applied in selecting the news. Sometimes the editor deals with the internal news production process, providing the public with a substantive account of how decisions are made. Readers’ comments are answered, although the blog has not been updated since May 2017. El Confidencial (digital-only) launched its blog En contacto (In contact) to provide an open communication channel about all kinds of initiatives implemented in-house. In fact, the blog is intended to showcase any new product launched or any achievement by El Confidencial, such as increases in audience figures, the redesign of its app or its integration in a European network of investigative journalism. The blog seldom deals with topics about editorial decisions and also lacks interaction with the readers. El País (newspaper), founded in 1976, is one of the few media companies that has its own newsroom statutes and the only one where journalists cast a vote on their editor after they are proposed by management. The blog El País que hacemos (El País we make) provides explanations about the paper’s coverage, including interviews with the journalists and editors involved in particular news stories. The blog also publishes detailed accounts of special projects, new products and events organised by the newspaper company. We found several examples of newsrooms blogs, which share a common feature: a mixture of “public relations” articles dealing with promotional aspects of their own news organisation and other stories that focus on the editorial decisions. Some of these blogs are not even giving readers a say in the process. Nevertheless, newsroom blogs such as those of and Público have been particularly insightful when offering descriptions of the context in which important editorial decisions were made, responses to external criticisms about their news performance and interaction with readers’ comments.

Ombudspersons The ombudsperson has been defined as a mediator between journalists in the newsroom and members of the audience (Evers 2012). They receive complaints from the public, deal with them in the light of journalistic standards and make media practitioners answer them – and, if needed, also apologise to the readers or viewers. The ombudsperson’s authority relies on being independent from the editorial team so they can address any concerns with an open mind. In the Spanish media, they

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usually deal with issues of professional news quality, overseeing to what extent the ethical and professional standards are met by the editorial staff. Two main types of media have implemented the role of the ombudsperson: newspapers (El País and La Vanguardia) and public broadcasters (RTVE, RTVA and CCMC). The only exception is digital-only outlet, which appointed its ombudsperson when it was founded: in September 2012. The general competencies of the ombudsperson are to receive and analyse audience complaints and write a regular column or report, to provide an explanation of any mistake or unethical practice and, if necessary, to issue a correction. However, the ombudsperson’s role is undergoing an identity crisis in Spanish media because it is an institution that most of the public do not know and that most of the media are not actively promoting (González et al. 2011). In November 1985, El País created the office of the ombudsperson, which has no executive role within the structure of the newspaper but a mandate to carry out inside investigations related to the readers’ complaints. The results of our analysis indicate that the issues related to content and editorial aspects are the ombudsperson’s priority, although other complaints such as gender discrimination and political bias are also prominent. The present ombudsperson has not updated public reports on a regular basis in the last year. The Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia created the ombudsperson role in 1993 with the aim of “protecting and guaranteeing the readers’ rights, answering their queries, complaints and suggestions, as well as overseeing that the news texts, titles and pictures follow the professional and ethical standards,” as La Vanguardia states on its own website. The ombudsperson publishes a column on a monthly basis. Most complains analysed are related to objectivity, unbalanced coverage and misrepresentation of places or persons in the news. calls its ombudsperson the “defender of the community” to emphasise the idea that the members of its community – readers and followers – are those who can influence the quality of its news coverage. Readers are encouraged to submit their views about “the challenges, failures, vices, defects, omissions and findings in” However, the “defender of the community” has been inactive since February 2016. The office of the Defender of the Audience at public broadcaster RTVE was founded in 2006 with the objective of allowing citizens to send their complaints and suggestions about the content aired in any of the corporation’s outlets. The Defender has a permanent section on the RTVE website and its own internal regulation. The ombudsperson publishes a monthly report about the complaints received and elaborates three-monthly reports on RTVE performance for board members. The office holder has sole editorial responsibility for the monthly television program “RTVE answers.” The office mainly handles complaints about programmes, criticism over lack of independence in the news and reporters’ standards. The public broadcaster from the Andalusian region, RTVA, opened the office of the Defender of the Viewer and the Listener in 1995, as a mediator between the company and the audience, with the goal of educating the public about their

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broadcasting rights as consumers. The office deals with a variety of issues each month, such as dissemination of images of criminal acts, the limits of satire, the identification of people involved in a crime, the right to oblivion, the collusion between politicians and journalists and news on suicides. In 2008, the Catalan Corporation of Public Media (CCMC) created the role of the Defender of the Audience “as a tool of journalistic self-regulation,” according to its own statutes. The office holder oversees the work of the Service of Audience Attention and deals with issues related to the protection of the children and the youth, the right to privacy, the right to honour and the respect of the principles of equality and no discrimination. The Defender of the Audience also writes internal reports forwarded to the Executive Board, including the demands, suggestions, compliments and criticisms from members of the audience. As we have seen, the handling of complaints by ombudspersons responds to different strategies, ranging from the ethical implication of the news coverage to the publication of graphic images of violence or terrorism. Although ombudspersons have the autonomy to choose the issues to be addressed, they tend to play a symbolic role, since they have no punitive powers within the news organisation.

Online chats with the editor Citizens who place a spotlight on poor quality journalism are being regarded as potentially influential instruments of media accountability. Some news outlets are opening channels for users to give their feedback about editorial decisions. However, bloggers, the so-called “citizen journalists” and those making comments on news websites are reluctant to engage with the journalists on a personal basis. Several digital-only media have launched online chats, which allow readers to address the editor or members of the editorial team. In January 2015, Eldiario. es launched a series of online meetings called “Pregúntame” (Ask me), so that readers could send questions to the editor. They do not hold these chats on a regular basis; in fact, they have organised only two of them between February and October 2017. The print publication La Marea also organises meetings with members of its Friends’ Club (readers who regularly pay a contribution) on a two-monthly basis. Originally, these meetings with journalists generated a lot of interest, because members physically visit the newsroom and talk to the editorial team. In 2016, the Catalan newspaper ARA launched a video chat via streaming for registered users to communicate with the editor about the implications of its news coverage. The format has lost regularity and it is currently produced only three or four times a year. In October 2017, ARA had a lively chat dealing with the news coverage carried out during the illegal referendum of independence held in Catalonia. The digital-only outlet El Confidencial created an internal forum for subscribers in 2016. This space is meant to be the place for conversation between the newsroom and the readers about how El Confidencial’s professionals work and

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specific aspects of its news coverage. Registered users can send in a question which the newsroom staff answer. Vilaweb, a digital-only outlet, also provides regular online chats with the news editor but only for subscribers. However, they have not organised any online chats since December 2016. The newspaper El Mundo organised several chats with the editor in 2016, but it discontinued them after abrupt management changes took place in 2017. These chats with the editor usually lack regularity and are organised only a few times a year. Editorial aspects and ethical issues account for about 60% of the questions addressed during these chats. However, many issues are addressed by the editors more with an attitude of justification than with a real willingness to admit the causes of failures or errors in news coverage. We found no evidence that the content of these chats resulted in changes in neither editorial news policy nor ethical standards.

Verification tools The spread of fake news is a real threat worldwide. Social media feeds, doctored videos and instant messaging are the main vehicles for online fake news. Fake, fabricated, falsified or misleading news reports constitute instances of deliberate misinformation which sometimes spreads to mainstream media. Citizens may help to monitor the quality of the content and report any fake news by contacting the journalists. To combat fake news, several Spanish media have recently created their own verification initiatives using a variety of tools. In November 2016, commercial broadcaster La Sexta launched a verification project, “Maldito Bulo,” which checks the truthfulness of any story, video or picture. It is associated with the network investigative news program “El Objetivo.” For example, throughout October 2017, “Maldito Bulo” played a key role in identifying fake pictures published or broadcasted during the coverage of the illegal referendum for independence in Catalonia. They are specialised in identifying fake news on controversial issues. Digital-only El Confidencial created a verification section called “La chistera” during the coverage of the general elections of December 2015. Originally, the section analysed the statements by the candidates to the government. Since then, “La chistera” has carried out several fact-checking initiatives, during which the verification section classifies data as “truthful, vague, false or unjustifiable.” In 2016, launched “El cazabulos,” a Twitter account which is used to verify any kind of fake news, inviting also users’ participation in the process. “El cazabulos” checks the truthfulness of any material submitted by the readers. However, it has been inactive since March 2017. “Verne,” a section of El País that deals with viral stories, launched its own verification tool in October 2014, “El tragabulos,” which seeks to detect fake stories distributed through WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook or Telegram. The journalists who work in this initiative use all kinds of sophisticated verification tools and they also rely on the users’ contributions to expose fake news.

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In most of these fact-checking instruments, the sheer volume of the information requires novel automated approaches, through automatic analytical methods that complement and enhance the human ability to discern truth from deception. These tools are useful to improve the verification standards of news, which may vary in different media organisations, ensuring the accuracy of the published content.

Conclusions In Spain, media accountability systems are slowly taking advantage of the Internet and Web 2.0 tools. The growing use of tools such as blogs, chats, correction alerts and social media have created new spaces of reflection and debate about the editorial policies. These results suggest that the Internet may be a useful complement of existing media accountability practices. However, few of the online accountability practices are widespread and many Spanish media organisations do not seem eager to promote them: 45% of the media outlets do not use any online accountability instruments at all, while 43% of the outlets use only one accountability instrument. Spain’s economic crisis has undermined the implementation of new accountability tools in many newsrooms, due to budgetary and personnel constraints. The proliferation of platforms, such as social networks and blogs, has also promoted disinterest in a mediating role between the public and the duty of media professionals. Our findings highlight the centrality of journalistic quality in the debate but also the diplomacy with which many of the issues are addressed, more with an attitude of defence or justification than with a real willingness to get to the bottom and publicly admit the causes of failures in news coverage. The Spanish experience provides scope for reflection on the obsolescence of the ombudsperson as an instrument of accountability. The low rate of audience interaction and the financial burden represented by hiring an in-house critic are the main reasons for the ombudsperson crisis. Some journalists argue that ombudspersons will become extinct or evolve into something else. Another question is whether the duties of ombudspersons are still important to the news audience. However, the idea that news outlets make their processes open and public is still a vital part of staying credible, especially for public broadcasters. Online chats with the editors are open spaces available for readers to question issues in news coverage and make complaints or suggestions. However, these chats are only used by six of the 25 media in our sample – and most of them lack regularity and consistency. The quality of the debate and the interest to participate has generally declined; there is more spam, more insidious comments and less engagement, so that some of these online chats have been discontinued. Other initiatives, such as newsroom blogs and verification tools, have also been implemented on a limited basis. Our research suggests weak support for the idea that online user participation has a positive influence on media accountability. Digital media and social networks provide opportunities to monitor the news and correct mistakes. In fact,

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digital-only media, rather than newspapers or broadcasters, have implemented most online accountability tools. However, we found that the audience seldom plays an active role in the application of these accountability systems. The inclusion of participatory elements into digital journalism is still fragmentary and users’ interest in contributing to newsroom blogs or chats with the editor remains low. There are also significant limitations in the working of these accountability systems, as they lack systematisation and regularity. For example, newsroom blogs are not always used for accountability and often pursue other goals, such as the self-promotion of the media company or showcasing new products and events. Besides, there is no evidence that these online instruments have reached a significant impact on professional accountability. The editorial handling of journalistic mistakes, which most newsrooms hardly ever pay any attention to, still leaves much room for improvement. The minority of readers who do pursue these activities, such as interacting with journalists or sending in complaints, are often involved in political or social organisations with vested interests. As Pritchard (2000) argues, a distinction should be made between instruments and practices. Much of the scholarly research on accountability systems focuses on the instruments that make it possible, listing the tools that the media have launched to foster transparency and responsiveness. But such an approach only provides a static picture, which tells little about the effectiveness of media accountability in journalists’ everyday work. It is more fruitful to see media accountability as a practice which includes not only the instruments but also the actors that use them and the rules on how to use them, which may vary from case to case and can evolve over time (ibid.). Only by enacting the instruments through practices does media accountability exist. Instruments, therefore, cannot be taken for granted, and for them to become established, practices will depend on the journalists’ attitudes in the field. The empirical evidence reveals that the implementation of digital technologies and audience participation initiatives do not necessarily improve the level of media accountability. Two basic steps are needed. First, consistency: providing a way for readers to interact with the editors should be a regular and expected feature in any media outlet. Second, publicity: these instruments should not be hard to find on the website and should be widely promoted among the public. Further research is needed to identify new ways of performing online media accountability that may be presented as best practices, which newsrooms in Spain could embrace. Longitudinal studies over a long period and comparative research with other southern European countries are also encouraged, to shed further light on the implementation of media accountability initiatives.

References Alsius, S., Mauri-Ríos, M., and Rodríguez-Martínez, R., 2011. Spain: A diverse and asymmetric landscape. In: T. Eberwein et al., eds. Mapping Media Accountability – In Europe and Beyond. Cologne: Halem, 155–167.

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Groenhart, H. P., and Bardoel, J. L. H., 2012. Conceiving the transparency of journalism. Moving towards a new media accountability currency. Studies in Communication Sciences, 12 (1), 6–11. Hasebrink, U., Herzog, A., and Eilders, C., 2007. Media users’ participation in Europe from a civil society perspective. In: P. Baldi and U. Hasebrink, eds. Broadcasters and Citizens in Europe. Trends in Media Accountability and Viewer Participation. Bristol: Intellect, 75–91. Heikkilä, H., et al., 2012. Media Accountability Goes Online. A Transnational Study on Emerging Practices and Innovations. MediaAcT Working Paper 14/2012. Available from: pdf Llorens, C., Grau, H. P., and Luzón, V., 2013. Mapping digital media and journalism in Spain. Análisi, 49, 43–64. Mauri-Ríos, M., and Ramón-Vegas, X., 2015. Nuevos sistemas de rendición de cuentas de la información periodística. Exploración del escenario online español. El profesional de la información, 24 (4), 380–389. Napoli, P. M., 2011. Audience Evolution. New Technologies and the Transformation of Media Audiences. New York: Columbia University Press. Pritchard, D., 2000. Introduction: The process of media accountability. In: D. Pritchard, ed. Holding the Media Accountable. Citizens, Ethics and the Law. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1–10. Rodríguez-Martínez, R., Mauri-Ríos, M., and Fedele, M., 2017. Criticism in journalism as an accountability instrument: The opinion of Spanish journalists. Communication & Society, 30 (1), 57–72. Rojas-Torrijos, J. L., and Ramón-Vegas, X., 2017. Accountability en las redes sociales. Libros de estilo en continua evolución y retroalimentación a través de Twitter. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, 72, 915–941. Singer, J. B., et al., 2011. Participatory Journalism. Guarding Open Gates in Online Newspapers. New York: Wiley-Blackwell. Suau, J., and Masip, P., 2014. Models of online media participation and active audiences – A comparison of what the media are offering and what citizens are looking for. In: K. Meso, ed. Active Audience and Journalism. Bilbao: University of the Basque Country, 127–139. Vike‐Freiberga, V., et al., 2013. A Free and Pluralistic Media to Sustain European Democracy. The Report of the High Level Group on Media Freedom and Pluralism. Available from: von Krogh, T., 2008. Introduction. Media accountability: A 60-year-old compromise that still holds promise for the future. In: T. von Krogh, ed. Media Accountability Today... and Tomorrow. Updating the Concept in Theory and Practice. Gothenburg: Nordicom, 9–28. Vujnovic, M., et al., 2010. Exploring the political-economic factors of participatory journalism. Views of online journalists in 10 countries. Journalism Practice, 4 (3), 285–296.

19 MEDIA CRITICISM IN AN AFRICAN JOURNALISTIC CULTURE An inventory of media accountability practices in Kenya David Cheruiyot

Introduction Existing research in media accountability studies shows that the influence of traditional media regulatory frameworks, such as the press councils, is increasingly weaker and their effectiveness in the regulation of journalism performance is being questioned (Fengler et al. 2014). As a remedy, research by the MediaAcT consortium1 recommends that citizens who criticise the legacy news media could now be integrated into media accountability processes. Indeed, audiences online are the sources of constant criticism of legacy news media organisations today. Media accountability studies contemplate the critical citizen as a possible alternative to “watching the watchdog” – the fourth estate (Cheruiyot 2017a). Recent studies have shown that journalists are aware of and even monitor media-critical content online ( Joseph 2011; Pole et al. 2012). In the practice of journalism, media criticism is expected to provide a basis for a revaluation of the “old order of media accountability” (Fengler et al. 2014), or to become a “force of social change” (Svensson 2015, p. 282). There are a couple of systematic studies of media criticism, which focus on the USA and western European countries. Few studies so far address media criticism in the digital space, and there is also limited research on the role the media criticism in understudied regions like anglophone Africa – and also what it portends for media accountability and journalism. This chapter therefore explores a media accountability landscape of a non-Western journalism culture to contribute to the literature and provide a basis for further discourses on the viability of media criticism as a form of media accountability today. This chapter shows the increasing role of the citizen as the media critic and subsequently the seemingly waning role of traditional media accountability instruments such as press councils. Apart from offering an inventory of media

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accountability practices in Kenya, this chapter explains the increasing relevance of media criticism in an African journalistic culture and media accountability studies.

Media accountability and journalistic culture Although the push for a more accountable media mostly comes from the political elite, the frustration by citizens over the failure of key public institutions such as the government and the fourth estate has been growing (Lauk and Kus 2012; Bernier 2013). Private media organisations seek to protect their vast commercial interest to the detriment of professionalism, freedom of expression and diversity (McChesney 2000). The quest for profits has weakened the watchdog role of the media, spurred sensationalism of news, led to diminishing plurality and a decline in quality journalism – all recipes for what is often termed as “irresponsible journalism” (Schultz 1998; McQuail 2003). As a result, frameworks of traditional media regulation are under pressure from both the public and governments to rein in private media. One of the traditional institutions of media accountability, the press council, appears to be losing “legitimacy” (Eberwein and Porlezza 2014) over the perceived failure to promote quality journalism. For example, the Leveson Inquiry in the UK that investigated the phone hacking scandal of the News of the World, owned by the global conglomerate News Corp, revealed the ineffectiveness of the UK’s Press Complaints Commission (Leveson Inquiry 2012). Consequently, the discourse in media accountability studies today has shifted to alternative forms of keeping journalists and media organisations accountable for their actions – mainly instruments that give a greater role to citizens (Bertrand 2000; Fengler et al. 2014).

Media criticism as participatory media accountability Today, there is a trend towards participatory media regulation (Fengler et al. 2014), which means that media regulatory mechanisms are being opened up for the involvement of civil society groups and citizens. However, it remains to be seen what impact participation of audiences online may have in keeping journalists and media organisations accountable. MediaAcT, whose research sought to suggest new media policy for Europe, concludes with a strong proposal for the institutionalisation of participatory media accountability online through citizen criticism (Fengler et al. 2014). In the same project, Eberwein and Porlezza (2014) show that countries with the least developed media accountability practices have a nascent media criticism culture that could complement weak regulatory institutions.2 However, the assumed transformative contribution of citizen criticism beyond Europe is yet to be explored. Even with the exploratory work of MediaAcT, that expanded Hallin and Mancini’s (2004) concept of media systems, there are still few studies that have examined the viability of citizen criticism online as a potential media accountability mechanism. Studies which examine the potential new innovations in media accountability are still inadequate in interrogating the contribution of the citizen to journalism


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practice, especially in the use of digital platforms such as social networking sites. The specific question of whether media criticism has a transformative value on journalism practice is still understudied, especially in journalistic cultures beyond the connected West. Yet there are claims that “the effects are already visible” in news media (Powell and Jempson 2014, p. 126). Web 2.0 technologies like social media have transformed accessibility to the content of the mainstream media and platforms of media criticism today. Equally, research into media criticism on new media platforms has been growing in the past ten years. After analysing the content of media-critical blogs, Cooper (2006) argues that blogs are emerging as social institutions that may become “vehicles for legitimate media criticism” (p. 20). The contribution of the media critics online is seen as potentially effective as they “expose malpractice in the media, i.e. they monitor whether journalists are acting according to their professional standards” (Fengler 2012, p. 177). Therefore, more than at any other time in media history, accountability has more relevance today globally.

African journalistic culture Perhaps the colonial legacy of the media in Africa 3, as well as globalisation, explains why media systems in African countries may take varying degrees of the Polarised Pluralist, the Democratic Corporatist and the Liberal types of media systems as various studies have shown (Nyamnjoh 2003; Hadland 2012). It is worth noting that Western frames can be simplistic and overlook the complexity and diversity in African journalistic cultures. Here, journalism culture is used to refer to values, attitudes and beliefs, as well as practices surrounding the reality of journalism in a particular setting (Hanitzsch 2007; Alonso and Barredo 2013). Africa, for example, is argued to have 40 media systems along with three main linguae francae, more than 2,000 local languages and the distinct colonial legacies of the British, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian (Kivikuru 2009). Northern African nations (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia) are often obscured by their sub-Saharan counterparts in studies that address “African” as a place and an idea (Skjerdal 2015), mostly owing to their historical and cultural connection to the Middle East. African media scholars acknowledge that African media cannot be isolated from journalism practices universally as a result of globalisation, but they argue that “the particularities of the African context should be acknowledged” (Bosch 2015, p. 19). Research into media accountability in anglophone Africa is still focused on media regulation or ethics and has hardly considered emerging audience criticism that could potentially be influencing journalism practice. Media policy research has been extensive on media regulation as a form of media accountability, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Existing studies on media policy have been inspired by political developments, because post-colonial socio-political transformations have become major discourses in post-independence Africa (Nyamnjoh 2005; Tettey 2006; Kalyango 2010; Wasserman 2010; Obuya 2012). Incidentally, fewer

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studies have been able to look critically at media accountability without the baggage of political developments, yet there has been a marked gradual democratisation process and less government control of the media (Kalyango 2010). Even so, it is important to point out that the discourse of media accountability since the 1990s, when most sub-Saharan African countries experienced a process of liberalisation, have mostly focused on freedom of the press and the independence of the media. There is a constant antagonism between governments and the independent media (Berger 2010; Obuya 2012) – hence, perhaps, a sustained interest on statutory and independent forms of regulation of the media. Although political censorship is still a challenge to the media in most African countries, there are others such as lack of professionalism, media concentration, market censorship and newsroom corruption that necessitate the intervention of media accountability mechanisms. Existing studies have mostly focused on media ethics with a bias on the role of media in nation building and development (Tettey 2006; Fourie 2008; Bosch 2015). Researchers in this area of media accountability have mostly recommended self-regulation that could inculcate a culture of social responsibility if media organisations are to effectively perform their key roles in development. Kenya, with a considerably higher level of press freedom than most Eastern and Central Africa countries, has a co-regulatory council borne out of the criticism that a past self-regulatory mechanism lacked teeth to keep the media accountable (Kalyango 2010). Among key regulatory challenges to the media in Kenya are libel and defamation laws that are friendly to the political elite as well as occasional threats of media regulation through draconian laws (Gicheru 2014; Wanyama 2015). However, the mainstream media have played an active role in exposing corruption and abuse of power by the political elite, for which reason the media have had an antagonistic relationship with state officials and politicians. The executive has often introduced laws that are deemed to infringe on press freedom, and in 2007, it succeeded in pushing for legislation to end selfregulation through the Media Council of Kenya (MCK). In Kenya, therefore, media accountability is mostly viewed in terms of media responsibility and how well regulation can keep the media in check (Tettey 2006). The argument between establishing an autonomous press council and one that is state-controlled has divided opinion among proponents of media freedom and government control. The arguments for independent and statutory regulation are not unique to Kenya. The fact that several countries in sub-Saharan Africa are seeking effective mechanisms for media accountability is considered a remarkable development (Wasserman 2010).

A closer look at Kenya In this section, I examine deeper the case of Kenya, to interrogate the potential place of media criticism in a media accountability ecosystem. The insights provided in this descriptive chapter are based on existing literature as well as semistructured interviews with 14 journalists conducted in Nairobi in 2015 and 2016.


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The practising journalists of mainstream media organisations at the time worked for three dailies (Daily Nation, The Standard and The Star) as well as broadcast media (Kenya Broadcasting Corporation – KBC and Nation Television – NTV). The interviews mostly provided pointers to multiple sources of criticism online, which are presented here. The key guiding questions were: •• ••

what are the traditional media accountability instruments in Kenya? what are the sources of public criticism of journalists and media organisations in Kenya today?

An overview As has been alluded to earlier, Kenya’s media are often described as “the mostrespected, most-engaged, well-produced, thriving, sophisticated, innovative, and widely consumed media in Africa” (Ismail and Deane 2008; Cheeseman 2014; Ireri 2017). Kenya has large private media corporations (Nation Media Group, Standard Media Group, Capital Group, Mediamax, Radio Africa Group and Royal Media Group) but weak public service media – the KBC. The leading dailies, Daily Nation and The Standard, are English-language newspapers, have the highest circulation in the country and are the most influential in national political discourses. Kenya’s FM radio, vernacular stations and community media are numerous, reaching the majority of the poor in peri-urban and rural areas, and are mostly influential among Kenya’s diverse ethnic communities. The mainstream media’s lively watchdog and investigative journalism is the reason for regular exposés of corruption in government. However, even with periodic flickers of excellence, Kenya’s journalism conjures an image of hopelessness at the socio-political state of the country, where corruption, ethnic/political conflicts and a culture of impunity is entrenched. Although Kenya’s media system is one of the freest and most professional in Africa (Freedom House 2010; Ireri 2016), it is often accused of political bias, corruption, marginalisation of the poor, hate speech, sensationalism, sloppiness, plagiarism and obsession with national elitist politics at the expense of socio-economic development at the grassroots (Skjerdal 2010; Esipisu and Kariithi 2011; Somerville 2011; Rothmeyer 2012; Ogola and Rodny-Gumede 2014; Mwaura 2015). The litany of the “sins” of the media cast a dark shadow on media accountability in the country. My interest in the media accountability landscape in Kenya is driven by the growth of lively online debates about news journalism in the past few years. Kenya’s comparatively impressive Internet penetration4, one of the highest in the African continent, is perhaps the reason for its vibrant digital space (AkueKpakpo 2013; Portland Communications 2015; ITU 2017). Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and comment sections of news websites often attract audiences to engage in the scrutiny of content and operations of the mainstream media. This emerging media criticism culture in Kenya has hardly attracted any notable interest in media accountability studies yet.

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Traditional media accountability Despite the growing media-critical culture, traditional media accountability structures have existed for quite some time in Kenya. The professional watchdog is the MCK 5, which was created through legislation in 2007, although it was previously a self-regulatory body. Among its functions is to receive and adjudicate complaints from the public regarding the print, broadcast or online media as well as accredit journalists. The MCK also periodically monitors and assesses the quality of reporting by the news media through its regular industry research and reports. The council has a code of ethics for journalists, but media organisations have supplemented that with their own editorial policies that govern, among other things, journalists’ conduct when dealing with sources as well as social media use. The MCK, originally created in 2004, enjoyed self-regulation until 2007, when the state passed legislation to turn it into a co-regulatory instrument. An amendment of the 2007 legislation creating MCK, the Media Act 2013, later expanded the role of the council to include a semi-autonomous complaints commission. The insistence on a legal framework to enforce media responsibility has mostly come from state officials and politicians. Subsequently, at least since the early 2000s, several laws have been introduced to regulate content, operations of the media and conduct of journalists through alternative institutions. The laws include the Kenya Information and Communications (Amendment) Act of 2013, which imposes heavy fines on journalists and media organisations for breaches of the code of ethics. The institutions with regulatory power over the media include: the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK), a broadcast licensing agency, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), which monitors publication of hate speech, and the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB), which censors broadcast and advertising content that does not meet moral standards. Kenyan media organisations do not have a well-developed culture of news ombudspersonship. A national newspaper, The Star, was the first daily to appoint a public editor in 2012, Karen Rothmyer, who became a member of the global Organisation of News Ombudsmen (ONO). Since then, other newspapers, for example The Daily Nation and The Standard, have appointed public editors. Even with such an internal media accountability mechanism, critics often accuse the media in Kenya of lacking professionalism, media concentration, market censorship and newsroom corruption – problems that necessitate the intervention of regulatory mechanisms (Lansner 2017). For years, veteran editor Philip Ochieng has run a weekly column on the Daily Nation titled “Mark my Word,” which criticises journalists over grammatical errors on newspapers, a practice that has been adopted by other editors like The Standard’s Alexander Chagema. In Ochieng’s book, I Accuse the Press. An Insider’s View of the Media and Politics in Africa (1992), he exposes newsroom intrigues and the media’s dalliance with a semi-dictatorial regime in the 1980s.6


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eXpression Today, a magazine similar to the American Colombia Journalism Review, was founded in 1996 by journalist David Makali, who can be considered one of Kenya’s most popular media critics. eXpression Today was described by Wilson Wanene (1999), in an article on Harvard University’s Nieman Reports, as a “punchy industry critique” and the “most comprehensively and steadily produced media review in Kenya” (p. 31). The magazine set up a website in the mid-2000s but folded in 2013. Other critics of the media include a popular satirical puppet show, XYZ Show, which “mocks the news” (to use the phrase by Painter and Hodges 2010 describing the American Daily Show) and has in the past been featured on Citizen TV and Kenya News Network (KTN). Besides, it is also important to acknowledge the role of peer criticism. Kenyan journalists constantly exchange views about the state of the media and journalism practice through small professional groups such as the Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK), the Kenya Environment and Science Journalists Association (KESJA) or the Kenya Online Journalists Association (KOJA).

Media criticism: new avenues of media accountability At least since 2010, a media-critical culture has caught on, especially within the mainstream media in Kenya. NTV started a journalism review programme, Press Pass, in 2014. In 2015, KTN launched The Newsroom morning show, while Citizen TV’s The Fourth Estate was started in 2017. The shows mostly introduce a debate on news coverage or new developments in the media’s relationship with the state. Invited guests occasionally include high-profile media critics, veteran and practising journalists, media council officials as well as defenders of press freedom from civil society organisations. In the 1990s, it was common for newspapers to criticise their competitors over their reporting and coverage through their editorials. Today, these kinds of criticism are rare, but journalists keep watch of their peers or media organisations on social media, although this is mostly shared among the journalists themselves. For example, as one respondent in the interview study put it: Journalists these days don’t go deep [when writing] stories and you find even old journalists criticising young journalists on these [social media] platforms. They say journalists (…) have become shallow, they don’t do good research – they’re young and inexperienced. (Newspaper editor, eleven years of journalistic experience) Indeed, social networking sites have attracted critics from within and outside the journalism profession. Journalists that were interviewed for the study pointed out that their greatest source of criticism comes from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. What follows is the view of another newspaper editor:

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Previously, somebody would take the trouble to write a letter to the editor. For someone to sit down, write a letter and buy a stamp and go to the post office, it required a big level of commitment. As a result, the quality of their criticism was higher. These days, social media is available to everybody and it is an instant feedback mechanism. (Newspaper editor, 19 years of journalistic experience) Local media in Kenya have often been criticised through hashtags on Facebook but mostly on Twitter. Some of the hashtags used by Kenyans on Twitter (KOT), as tweeters from Kenya refer to themselves, include: #KOTMessageToMediaHouses (in reference to a litany of sins, ranging from poor coverage of news events to factual errors); #SomeoneTellStandard or #SomeoneTellNation (aimed at Kenya’s leading dailies when there is an occasional biased news report or editorial blunder); #KeMediaFailure (referring to poor coverage, as was the case after a terror attack at a shopping mall in Nairobi in 2013); and #GitheriMedia (referring to sensationalism and trivialisation of news during the national elections in 2017). Apart from the hashtags, there are isolated individual or group attacks of the mainstream news media over perceived or imagined political bias. One Twitter account has even claimed its criticism of the media as a “citizen-driven initiative.” On its blog, Media Watch Kenya7 announces its role in the following way: Media Watch Kenya is a citizen-driven initiative founded in 2014 to offer well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship. We advocate for greater diversity in the press by scrutinizing and highlighting practices that compromise public interest, minority and dissenting views. International media such as CNN, Fox News and BBC have not escaped the criticism of Kenyan audiences. In 2015, KOT used #SomeoneTellCNN to criticise CNN over its negative reports about insecurity in Kenya, as US President Barack Obama was planning a tour of the country (Kaigwa 2017). Later in the same year, #SomeoneTellFoxNews was used to criticise the American network over a story on Pope Francis’ visit to Kenya, attracting visibility on social media and international attention. Since at least 2007, Kenya has seen a rapid growth of its blogosphere. Media criticism was popularised in 2010 by two blogs – Media Madness8 and Jackal News9 – which specialised in exposing newsroom and political scandals. There are other media-critical blogs such as Journalism Drycleaner10, Kenyan Editor11, Business Today12, Kahawa Tungu13 and Gathara’s World14. On YouTube, a variety of shows give commentaries about the performance of the media or the conduct of journalists. The commentators of the shows include former and practising journalist, such as Caroline Mutoko, a former radio talk show host of Kiss 100 FM. Also, fact-checking organisations on the rise in Sub-Saharan Africa are among key critics of the mainstream media through the way they verify facts


David Cheruiyot

on news reports. In Kenya, Africa Check, a non-profit based in South Africa, and Pesa Check15, a financial reports fact-checker, periodically interrogate facts on news reports as proclaimed by high-profile news sources such as politicians and bureaucrats. Their activist-like approach to mainstream news journalism is increasingly being seen as having the potential to keep journalists and legacy news media organisations accountable (Graves 2013; Cheruiyot and Ferrer 2017).

Conclusion This chapter has identified media accountability practices in Kenya and pinpointed the sources of criticism of journalism practice in the country today. From the case study, there are several observations to make: •• •• •• •• ••

there is a notable rise of non-institutional and non-traditional actors of media accountability, such as fact-checkers; a culture of media criticism has emerged, enhanced by social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter; there is a lively media debate online on journalism and its deficiencies; there is a more activist approach towards criticism as seen in the case of the use of hashtags by KOT or fact-checkers; there is a strong presence of practising journalists and former journalists participating in media criticism discourses.

From the highlights of the media accountability developments in Kenya, it is important to underline the fact that there are no major notable differences between media accountability in the West and an African journalistic culture such as Kenya’s. The emerging alternative forms of media accountability such as social media and blogs are trends in Western contexts as well (see Fengler et al. 2014). There are, however, implications of this exploratory study for media accountability research. Online media accountability alternatives have grown, due to the unparalleled growth of new media technologies. The current rise of innovative media accountability instruments makes Kenya an interesting case in journalism and media accountability studies. Fengler et al. (2014) show that there is a wide range of web-based media accountability processes, initiated both by actors within and outside of the journalism profession, thus they see a potential for participatory media regulation. The role of the Internet in media accountability could present itself both as a challenge, to media legitimacy and credibility, and an opportunity, as a space for developing accountability practices. Bernier (2013) argues that the “floodgates” of criticism online have shown that legacy news organisations can no longer claim to be “sole gatekeepers of public discourse” and their monopoly over selfregulatory instruments such as press councils is over (p. 2). He further argues that citizens today provide reinforcement to traditional media accountability

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mechanisms by acting as “standards setters” and can now be taken seriously as “spontaneous co-regulators” (p. 2). Indeed, as the Kenyan case has shown, citizens on social media and blogs often draw interesting debates on journalistic practice.They boost the confidence in their potential capacity to become effective “watchers of the watchdog” through constant criticism of news journalism practice. However, we have to recognise the fact that they may not be as effective. Vos et al. (2012), for instance, argue that the effect of blogs on journalism practice should not be overrated because of their nature as leisure projects. Further, online users, mostly bloggers and users of Facebook or Twitter, have sometimes misused the platforms by fanning hatred, spreading attacks and offensive remarks on news professionals (Gardiner et al. 2016) – and thus could be a threat to media freedom. Heikkilä et al. (2012) show that journalists are still doubtful of the emerging citizenry, providing alternative accountability forms, and they could be right in receiving these potential new partners with a cautious approach. So what place does media criticism have in the media accountability framework in an African journalistic culture like Kenya’s? Media criticism, particularly online, can complement a weaker regulatory framework, especially the semi-independent MCK. Eberwein and Porlezza (2014) show that there is a significant media criticism culture in places with less developed media accountability practices. However, according to them, in many European countries there is widespread scepticism and suspicion by journalists on online media accountability. If citizen criticism is to challenge journalists and to question their fidelity to journalistic norms and values, then the news practitioners should have a higher tolerance for criticism. It is increasingly being shown, however, that despite journalists’ “ambivalence” towards their critics’ intentions and their general resistance towards criticism, there is an extent to which they would engage with criticism, especially the analytical type (Cheruiyot 2017b). Of course, this study did not inquire into the perception of journalists regarding criticism from citizens. In exploring the potential of participatory media accountability, future studies may need to investigate the impact that media criticism has on journalistic behaviour and conduct – in an African journalistic culture and elsewhere.

Notes 1 The project “Media Accountability and Transparency in Europe” (MediaAcT), funded by the European Commission, was a study of media accountability in twelve European countries and two Arab countries between 2010 and 2013 (see http:// 2 The MediaAcT project involved twelve European and two Arab countries. They are Germany, France, Italy, Finland, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, the Netherlands, Romania, the UK, Estonia, Spain, Tunisia and Jordan. The comparative study included a survey of 1,762 journalists from these countries in 2011 and 2012. 3 “Media in Africa” is an apt description rather than “African media,” because of the colonial heritage, neo-colonial ideological influence, foreign ownership and widespread use of European languages such as English and French (see Kupe 2005).


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4 In 2017, Kenya had an Internet penetration of 89.4%, the highest in Africa, as well as 6.2 million Facebook users, in a population of 45 million. 5 The council sees its role as that of “regulation of media and the conduct and discipline of journalists” ( who-we-are). 6 Perhaps the first published book of its kind by a Kenyan journalist. 7 8 Media Madness has remained inactive since 2010 (see https://frankierants.wordpress. com). 9 It is still not known who or what contributed to the shutdown of Jackal News. In September 2013, its “editor” Bogonko Bosire disappeared without a trace. 10 11 12 13 14 15

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balance 46, 136, 169, 170, 173, 231, 272, 277 Belgium 7, 9, 183, 189, 192, 230, 235–236 bias 3, 60, 101, 105, 108–110, 197, 201, 204, 206, 234, 256, 260, 277, 287–288, 291 blog 6, 10–13, 38, 42, 59, 61, 72, 219, 234, 246, 248, 271, 274–276, 278, 280–281, 286, 288, 291–293 boundary work 55–65, 214–215, 219, 221–222 Bulgaria 8–9, 183, 187–188, 190

139–144, 151, 154, 156, 163–164, 167, 170–171, 173, 184–185, 203, 217, 230, 234–235, 238–239, 246, 270–272, 289 communism 8, 100, 106–107, 190 concentration 85–86, 109, 272, 287, 289 convergence 12, 14, 36, 135, 181–182, 186, 192, 229 copyright 58, 124–126, 167, 169, 173 co-regulation 5, 18–19, 30, 127, 146, 151, 182–186, 188–191, 205, 287, 289, 293 corporate social responsibility (CSR) 143, 162–174, 202–203, 207, 233 correction 15, 21, 61, 91, 126, 142, 231–233, 243, 246, 249–253, 270, 277, 280 corruption 58, 170–171, 173, 287–289 credibility 12, 56, 60, 70, 88, 123, 144, 231, 259, 292 Croatia 8, 183 Cyprus 9, 11, 20, 24, 26–27, 29–30, 183, 189–190 Czech Republic 10–11, 183, 187, 189

censorship 103, 120–121, 126–128, 131, 197, 206, 267, 287, 289, 291 chat 200, 219, 274–275, 278–281 chief editor 65, 142, 151, 247–252 clickbait journalism 62, 64, 122 code of ethics 6–12, 18, 21–24, 29, 42, 56,  59, 61, 64, 73, 86–87, 90–91, 93, 95–96, 102, 122, 124, 126–127,

defamation 125–126, 185, 258, 287 Denmark 7, 9, 59, 121, 183, 185, 189 dialogue 12, 41–42, 56, 65, 125, 138, 153, 170, 173, 217, 230, 235, 246, 251, 255, 258–260, 264, 266 dictatorship 22, 89, 103, 190, 289 discrimination 129, 197, 200, 204, 206, 277–278

accuracy 60, 70, 96, 126, 139, 142, 166, 198, 203, 231, 234–235, 261, 263, 280 advertising 62, 65, 109, 121–125, 142–143, 169, 184–185, 189, 196–197, 199, 206, 237–238, 289 Algeria 286 algorithm 13–14, 62–63, 196–207 answerability 41, 258–259, 262–266 Austria 7, 9–10, 112, 162, 168–173, 178, 183, 189, 230, 237, 293

300 Index

diversity 4, 44, 100, 104, 120–121, 123, 125–126, 128, 131, 141, 143, 152–153, 166, 169–170, 173, 183, 189, 230, 236, 238, 285–286, 291 editor-in-chief see chief editor Egypt 286 election 100, 102, 106–107, 142, 212, 245, 251, 257, 260, 279, 291 entertainment 166, 169, 171–172, 199, 255–267 equality 106, 153, 278 error 4, 10, 12, 15, 61, 126, 142, 202, 231–234, 236, 246, 250, 258, 275, 277–281, 289, 291 Estonia 8, 10, 183, 190, 293 Facebook 6, 11–12, 58, 62, 121, 191, 234, 244–246, 248–249, 266, 279, 288, 290–294 fact-checking 61, 220, 245, 279–280, 291–292 fairness 88, 139, 172–173, 198, 203–204, 206, 231, 260 fake news 3, 13–14, 32, 55–65, 102, 111–112, 244–245, 252, 279 feedback 153–154, 217, 234, 244, 246, 270, 275, 278, 291 Finland 7–9, 55–65, 136–137, 139, 141–144, 146–147, 183, 246, 293 France 8–10, 22, 32–33, 39, 109, 128–130, 183–184, 189, 192, 230, 234, 237, 286, 293 freelancer 169, 218, 220–221 free speech 89, 119–121, 125, 127–131, 218 gatekeeping 36, 271, 292 gender 55, 153, 277 Germany 7, 9–10, 20–22, 25–27, 29, 60, 109, 112, 121, 130–131, 162, 168–173, 178, 183–184, 186–187, 189, 197, 199, 203–204, 218, 230, 237, 251, 286, 293 globalisation 47, 121, 171, 286 Google 121, 191, 244–245 governance 5, 12, 18, 32, 100–101, 105, 107–108, 110, 127, 137, 142, 146, 150–151, 157, 164, 166–167, 169, 171–174, 181–182, 187, 191, 197–200, 203–204, 206–207, 234 Greece 8–9, 11, 33, 183, 190 harassment 55–56, 70 hate speech 4, 56, 59, 63, 65, 101–102, 105, 111–112, 288–289

human rights 104, 130, 146, 169, 200 Hungary 8, 11, 112, 183, 185, 218, 220 immigration 56, 58, 69–81, 96, 109 impartiality 139, 142, 147, 169 integration 25, 43, 72, 91, 104, 163–164, 166–167, 171, 173, 181–182, 220, 276, 284, 289 interactivity 58, 69, 219, 229, 235, 253, 270–271 investigative journalism 39, 55, 197, 204, 212–223, 276, 279, 288 Ireland 7, 183, 188–189, 230, 238 Israel 255, 259–267 Italy 8–10, 20, 23–29, 32–33, 103, 183–184, 187, 215, 218, 220, 230, 234, 237, 286, 293 Jordan 293 Kenya 284–294 Latvia 10–11, 183 letter to the editor 40, 250, 257, 259, 291 Leveson Inquiry 33, 84–97, 126, 141, 215, 285 Libya 286 Lithuania 8, 10, 183, 185–187 Luxembourg 183, 189–190 Malta 8–9, 11, 20, 24–29, 33, 183, 189–190 manipulation 70, 197, 199, 204, 206 marketing 11, 125, 154, 249, 252 media council see press council media journalism 4, 6, 8–10, 12–13, 71 media literacy 169, 174, 235, 238 media policy 14, 104–105, 126, 135, 145, 150, 152, 159, 189, 191, 285–286 migration 14, 56, 58, 69–81, 96, 100, 107, 109 minority 153, 188, 260, 281, 291 mission statement 152–154, 157, 217, 219 mistake see error monopoly 36, 90, 145, 214, 292 Morocco 286 Netherlands 9–10, 60, 183–184, 187, 189, 243–253, 293 neutrality 60, 76, 109, 147, 186 newspaper 5, 7–9, 12, 21–22, 55–56, 58, 65, 73, 77, 79, 81, 84–92, 94–97, 108–110, 121–122, 128, 141, 143, 155–158, 189, 216, 218, 220, 243–245, 247, 249–250, 252–253, 273–274, 276–279, 281, 288–291

Index  301

non-governmental organisation (NGO) 6, 11, 71, 137, 146, 163, 182–185, 187–188, 191, 201, 204, 218 Norway 7, 9–10, 55 objectivity 47, 58, 74, 88, 102, 166, 216, 277 ombudsperson 4, 6–10, 12–13, 39–40, 123, 127, 154, 235, 244, 246–253, 259, 262–265, 270, 272, 274–278, 280, 289 participation 4, 19, 25, 40, 58, 79, 111, 124, 146, 156, 163–164, 170, 202, 216, 229, 231, 266, 271–272, 274, 279–281, 285 photo 58, 75, 86, 89 plagiarism 40, 249, 288 pluralism 20, 32, 37, 46, 101–104, 108–109, 111, 120, 125–126, 128–131, 145, 153, 166, 173, 186, 188, 207, 215, 230, 243, 271, 286 Poland 8, 10–11, 100–112, 183, 189–190, 293 polarisation 4, 20, 32, 69, 78–80, 100–112, 244, 252, 286 Portugal 8–9, 11, 20, 22, 25–29, 32–33, 103, 183, 190, 230, 286 press council 4, 6–8, 10–13, 19–23, 32–33, 39, 42, 56, 84–97, 108, 126–127, 140–141, 143, 156, 163, 185, 230, 243, 245–246, 248, 252, 265, 270, 284–285, 287, 290, 292 press freedom 5, 13–14, 55, 84–85, 89, 92, 97, 107–108, 110, 248, 287, 290 privacy 21, 58, 86–87, 126, 139, 142–143, 197, 203–204, 206, 278 propaganda 47, 57, 110, 197 public relations (PR) 40, 65, 70, 96, 276 public value 135–147, 170–173, 188–189, 191 quality 3–5, 9, 12–13, 18, 28, 37, 46, 56, 60, 64, 73, 100, 112, 135, 137, 140, 150–159, 163, 170–173, 203, 216, 229–232, 234–235, 239, 244–245, 248, 259–261, 270–272, 277–280, 285, 289, 291 racism 77, 200, 243 radio 9, 22, 59, 81, 102, 108–109, 136, 142, 152, 155–158, 187–188, 230, 234–237, 255, 257, 273–274, 288, 291 religion 107, 188, 263 responsiveness 41, 57, 62, 64–65, 164, 215–219, 229, 243–244, 270, 281

Romania 8–9, 183, 293 Russia 10, 55, 102, 107, 109, 212, 251, 253, 262 satire 9, 42, 260, 264, 267, 278, 290 self-regulation 4–5, 7–8, 13, 18–19, 22, 25, 30, 32–33, 38–39, 42, 46, 56, 64, 84–97, 101–102, 111–112, 121–124, 126–128, 130–131, 139–142, 144–146, 150–159, 167, 173, 182, 184–186, 189, 199, 203, 219, 230, 245, 248, 252, 270, 272, 278, 287, 289 Slovakia 8, 10–11, 183, 187, 190 Slovenia 11, 183, 190 social network 10, 63, 137, 230, 237, 239, 280, 286, 290, 292 Spain 8–10, 20, 23, 25–27, 29, 32–33, 103, 183, 190, 230, 239, 270–281, 286, 293 subsidy 21, 24–25, 109, 128, 189 surveillance 63, 196–197, 204–205, 212, 217 Sweden 7–9, 20, 22, 25–29, 69–81, 102, 109, 121–123, 129, 131, 183, 189 Switzerland 7, 9–10, 150–159, 162, 168–173, 178, 230–231, 236–237, 293 tabloid 7, 81, 123 talk show 257, 263, 291 television (TV) 9, 12, 22, 56, 81, 102, 108, 110–111, 122, 136, 142–143, 152, 155–158, 178, 184, 186–188, 229–230, 232, 234– 237, 243, 248, 255–257, 259, 261–262, 264–265, 273–274, 277, 288, 290 trade union 24, 33, 188 trust 4, 13, 55–56, 61, 64–65, 69–81, 90–92, 119, 122–124, 138–141, 146–147, 171, 182, 188–189, 231, 234, 245, 250, 252–253, 270 truth 4, 13–14, 47, 59, 69–70, 73, 102, 126, 131, 166, 206, 223, 244, 279–280 Tunisia 286, 293 Turkey 33 Twitter 6, 10–12, 56, 111, 200, 237, 245–246, 251–253, 279, 288, 290–293 Ukraine 253 United Kingdom 7, 9–10, 18, 20–21, 26–27, 29, 60, 64, 75, 84–97, 126, 139–142, 144, 146, 183–186, 188–189, 230, 243, 255, 285, 293 United States 10, 60, 62, 64, 103, 112, 204, 215, 284 war 65, 96, 212, 215, 222–223, 261 whistleblowing 14, 128, 141, 144, 212–223